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Effects of gypsy moth infestation on near-view aesthetic preferences and recreation behavior intentions

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Hollenhorst, S.J.; Brock, S.M.; Freimund, W.A.; Twery, M.J.

Year Published

1991

Publication

In: McCormick, Larry H.; Gottschalk, Kurt W., eds. Proceedings, 8th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1991 March 4-6; University Park, PA. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-148. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 23-33.

Abstract

Using the Scenic Beauty Estimator (SBE) approach, near-view color photographs were taken of 25 forested sites exhibiting gypsy moth induced tree mortality from 6% - 97%. A quadratic function of tree mortality by preference rating best described the variability in ratings ( R2 = .60). The effect of flowering mountain laurel flowers was also significant with the covariate "presence of flowers" increasing the R2 to .74. Scenic preferences and appeal for visitation increased initially as mortality approached 20-30%. Up to this point, increased sunlight, visual penetration, and understory regrowth may have mitigated the negative effects of mortality. As mortality exceeded 20-30%, ratings dropped sharply. Attitudes regarding proper forest management were not a factor in preference ratings. Awareness of the presence of insect damage did not significantly influence ratings, suggesting the limited usefulness of information or education efforts aimed at shaping public responses to gypsy moth damage. Scenic beauty preferences were closely linked to recreation behavior intentions, thus providing managers with a relatively simple and inexpensive surrogate measure of visitor behavioral responses to insect damage. We conclude that if near-view aesthetics or recreation visitation are the only consideration, except where tree mortality is expected to be unusually high, suppression is not justifiable.

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Citation

Hollenhorst, S.J.; Brock, S.M.; Freimund, W.A.; Twery, M.J. 1991. Effects of gypsy moth infestation on near-view aesthetic preferences and recreation behavior intentions. In: McCormick, Larry H.; Gottschalk, Kurt W., eds. Proceedings, 8th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 1991 March 4-6; University Park, PA. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-148. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 23-33.

Last updated on: February 14, 2008