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Culture and the forested landscape : inter and intra-cultural perceptions of modified forest landscapes Lewis, John Llewellyn

Abstract

A key feature of the current policy environment in which decisions about landscape management are made is its increasing complexity. In the past, relatively few interests commanded attention in decisions about forest management, today a host of values demand consideration in decision-making. There is a need to consider how this increasingly varied spectrum of interests can be taken into account, particularly where these interests are unfamiliar to land managers such as the preferences of A key feature of the current policy environment in which decisions about landscape management are made is its increasing complexity. First Nations communities. Two central questions underlie this aspect of preference: (1) What is the range of dimensions that local stakeholders consider in their evaluation of modified forest landscapes? (2) How and why do preferences for modified forest landscapes differ between and among First Nations and Euro-Canadians? A sample of First Nations and Euro-Canadian residents of the upper Skeena Valley in Northwest British Columbia were interviewed using a photoelicitation technique for landscape preference evaluation. Photo-realistic simulations of alternative landscape changes in the upper Skeena Valley were presented to the participants, who ranked the landscape treatments and commented at length on the rationale for their rankings. Based on the pattern of results from the participant interviews, I have reached four main conclusions: (1) Landscape preference evaluations are based on a complex and simultaneous weighting of alternative perceived consequences, the degree to which disturbances demonstrate care for natural processes and future needs, as well as physical site characteristics. (2) Ethnic and other sociodemographic characteristics only partially account for differences in landscape preference. People tend to evaluate the landscape from a user perspective and, with a few exceptions; forest-based uses often transcend distinctions of ethnicity, age and gender. (3) People are willing to accept modified or human-influenced landscapes, but the degree to which the treatment visibly demonstrates ’care’ is a salient factor in the participants’ preference evaluations. (4) Environmental value orientations can be conceptualized in terms of a two-dimensional matrix with the New Environmental Paradigm-Dominant Social Paradigm scale configured along one axis, and an additional axis that I have termed the ’hierarchy-interdependence’ dimension.

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