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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

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Environmental Perceptions & Values


The Northern Research Station has realigned our staff from 37 Research Work Units and Programs into 14 new Research Work Units.

RWU-4902 is now part of NRS-9, People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy.

[Photo:] Landowner in a wildflower planting providing wildlife habitat.  Mecosta County, Michigan.Many of the debates and controversies regarding management of natural resources stem from people’s differing environmental perceptions and values – and in some cases the different perceptions they have of other people’s values. This issue is magnified by the rapidly changing landscape; as people relocate and natural resources change, individuals respond to their surroundings in different ways.

Our scientists work to identify and better understand how people experience the natural environment, what prompts those experiences, and how important they are to people. We seek to find out which attributes of places are important to people. One of the goals driving our research is to help natural resource managers understand that it is important to consider people’s experiences of nature when establishing policies and practices. Knowing how people respond to a place is also important for arriving at truly sustainable approaches to managing the landscape.

Natural-environment perception & preference - What are the ideal number and kinds of trees in a community park, from the human perspective? Can there be too many trees? Too few?  Our research shows that urban people’s perceptions of landscapes are influenced by the types, sizes, and number of trees and other plants.  ...more>>

Values & meaning of places - People have very strong feelings for and attachments to places and environments. This holds true for those who live in an area, people who visit it, and even those who may have never visited it.  ...more>>

Demographic differences and diversity - People of different backgrounds may experience the environment differently. Certain individuals or groups might have unique needs, or because they are in a minority, may not have their needs voiced in the larger public context of resource management and planning. What’s more, just as there may be differences between groups, African Americans and Asian Americans, for instance, there can also be important variations within those groups.  ...more>>


Last Modified: 12/21/2007