Restorative value of pine forest as opposed to spruce forest

Peeter Vassiljev, Simon Bell, Janar Raet, Miguel Villoslada Pecina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Cross-country skiing in forest landscape is a popular pastime in Estonia. It is valuable to know which forest characteristics, including visual density and variation, increase the restorative value of a skitrail when designing such a recreational site. Visually more open pine forest has been reported to be a favourite type for recreational activities by Estonians. It is a common research practice to use static images when measuring landscape preference and the restorative value of environments. However, landscape perception involves aspects that static images can’t represent fully, such as movement. The research reported here asked the question: would a cross-country skiing track in a visually more permeable pine forest produce better restorativeness ratings than one in a visually less permeable mixed spruce forest (as predicted by previous research using static images) when test subjects are shown simulations of moving through a landscape instead of static images? The study used an immersive landscape simulator to induce effects of perceived movement along a cross-country skiing track through both pine and mixed spruce forest, each with sections without openings, a section
with large but few rectangular clear-cut openings and a section with small but numerous clear-cut openings. While viewing each of the sections of the simulated forests respondents filled in a standard restorativeness rating questionnaire. From among the multiple factors included in this perception model it was possible to associate a higher restorative value to the visually more permeable pine forest over the denser mixed spruce forest. The variation in appearance caused by one forest type changing to another also had an effect, but spatial variation caused by clearings in the forest did not have significant impact on perceived restorativeness. We conclude that where possible ski tracks should be routed through
sparser forests but equal consideration should be given to variation in appearance of the forest.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECLAS Conference Proceedings "Landscapes in Flux" 2015
Place of PublicationTartu
Pages133
Number of pages138
ISBN (Electronic)978-9949-536-97-9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2015

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