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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aesthetic judgments of forest trees in relationship to timber quality Bekker, Pieter Jan


This study explores the relationship between timber quality and aesthetic quality of forest trees, in hope of uncovering criteria with which both timber management and forest aesthetics may be realized on the same land base. Findings may also apply to exclusive use recreation forests. Twenty-four mature trees, growing along a wilderness trail in British Columbia, were selected according to three timber quality classes and paired so that all possible combinations of the quality classes were evenly represented. Wilderness recreation users were asked to judge the attractiveness of the trees, select the one tree of each pair they preferred, and give reasons for their preference. Study results showed a positive relationship existed between timber quality and aesthetic quality. However, while the timber quality classification did aesthetically differentiate between good and poor timber quality trees, the classification could not, with any consistency, aesthetically differentiate between good and average timber quality trees, or similar timber quality trees. Tree height was also positively related with aesthetic quality, and could distinguish the preferred trees three of the four times that timber quality could not. It therefore was more accurate than timber quality in assessing the aesthetic quality of forest trees. Reasons for tree preference most often chosen were: more balanced, straighter trunk, fewer dead trunk branches and more attractive background scenery. Variety both within and between stands, and the retention of some tall trees may, where important to the good husbandry of provincial forest lands, contribute considerably toward increasing the compatibility of timber management and forest aesthetics.

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