The influence of information provision on people's landscape preferences: A case study on understorey vegetation of deer-browsed woodlands

Rene van der Wal*, David Miller, Justin Irvine, Stefano Fiorini, Arjun Amar, Steven Yearley, Robin Gill, Norman Dandy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We investigated whether people's landscape preferences could be readily influenced by information provision within the context of woodland management. Specifically, we determined: (i) people's preference regarding understorey density on the basis of visual images; (ii) the occurrence of change in preference due to information provision about biodiversity and deer management associated with different understorey densities; and (iii) demographic or social factors potentially explaining variation in the occurrence of such preference change. We found that of all participants (n =126) more than half changed their expressed preference. This largely entailed a shift away from denser understorey to intermediate levels, suggested a balancing between initial preference and the objectives linked with the information provided. Change in preference was unrelated to livelihood connection. However, preferences became more robust with age and familiarity with woodlands. There was an unprompted widespread desire for different understorey densities in different places, i.e. a 'patchwork' landscape, to maximise opportunities for different species and societal uses. This represents a clear interest for a spatially diverse rather than uniform woodland management. We recommend that the susceptibility of landscape preferences to information provision is explicitly recognised by landscape planners and researchers, notably where visualisation techniques are being used to inform decision making. (c) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Bird and plant diversity
  • Deer management
  • Information provisioning
  • Landscape preference change
  • Visual assessments
  • Woodland understorey vegetation


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