This is a part of a broader project on the social acceptability of forest management options. Land use planning is complicated as it has to accommodate different often competing social values: economic, natural and amenity. This is especially true in forested landscapes where effects of management practices can extend to beyond a human lifetime. In forest management, pressure against change, sometimes catalyzed by intense silvicultural practices, has led to public revolt and protest. Participatory planning is the key to involving the public in landscape design, yet it is difficult to convey the impact of future silvicultural operations or to determine what forest management practices the public find acceptable without adequate tools. This thesis describes the development of toolsets to assess the acceptability of forest management options and to determine how people use landscape information in making their judgments. Three toolsets were developed; the first allows the participatory development of forested landscapes; the second presents these landscapes using visual, graphical and descriptive information, allowing the public to compare, contrast and judge the social acceptability of these landscapes; and the third assesses the use of the presented information in the decision process. The incorporation of visualisation into landscape planning tools is not a new area of research, but current tools primarily focus on representing change in more familiar landscapes, such as urban areas and those changes occur generally over much short periods of time. Representing change in forested areas at a landscape scale over long time periods has two specific challenges; how to evaluate the change in landscape, and how to accurately represent the effects of the change at a landscape scale. This research addresses these challenges by (a) developing landscape performance indicators to quantify the performance of the developed scenarios in three key areas, and (b) representing the effects of the operational harvest systems via descriptive, graphical and interactive informational elements. Analysis of the developed scenarios is described and results are presented. The methods used to develop the landscape models and 3D panoramic visualisations are described. The landscape presentation tool is described in terms of the design of the interface, the interactive features enabling the comparison and selection of preferred landscapes and the different information types used to represent the landscapes. Analysis of tool set use and participant behavioral traits is described and results presented. Results showed that (a) the landscape development toolset provided a suitable framework with which to develop a range of different landscape scale forest management scenarios and (b) the landscape presentation toolset allowed members of the public to view, compare and choose their preferred forest management option from a range of different options. People used the presentation tool to view, arrange and compare the presented information in different ways. All information was seen as being useful in understanding the effects of the forest management systems on the landscape, but particular types of information were used more often and found to be more useful when comparing landscapes.
For full details see http://www.warra.com/index.php/2012-05-15-18-01-11