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Bosque (Valdivia)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9200


NAHUELHUAL, Laura et al. Do people prefer natural landscapes? An empirical study in Chile. Bosque (Valdivia) [online]. 2018, vol.39, n.2, pp.205-216. ISSN 0717-9200.

There is a growing consciousness that the viability of landscape-related policy depends on support from the general public. However, during planning stages, knowledge regarding landscape perceptions and preferences of people is generally absent or limited. This study presents an observer-based landscape assessment, applying a physical landscape attribute approach to measure visual preferences based on photographs. Data on age, gender, place of residence, income and education level were collected by means of a country-wide online questionnaire (n° answers=643), along with information from respondents on visual evaluations of images depicting various compositions and levels of scenic beauty of rural landscapes of south-central Chile. The effects of landscape composition and scenic beauty on responses (individual ratings), as well as the interaction effects between those attributes and personal characteristics, were tested by applying multivariate repeated measures ANOVA and Wilks multivariate tests. Ratings for both scenic beauty and landscape composition significantly varied across photographs, revealing a clear preference for landscapes dominated by native vegetation over landscapes dominated by exotic tree plantations or cultivated lands. A relatively low, nonetheless significant, portion of the rating variability was explained by subtle differences in preferences arising from personal characteristics. Results contribute to several recent efforts to understand public opinion regarding natural and rural landscape changes. Specifically, results sustain the adverse effects of loss of natural habitats on people’s appraisals of rural landscapes.

Palabras clave : landscape change; landscape values; social preferences; landscape evaluation; landscape planning.

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