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PLOS ONE  2014 

Combining Aesthetic with Ecological Values for Landscape Sustainability

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102437

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Abstract:

Humans receive multiple benefits from various landscapes that foster ecological services and aesthetic attractiveness. In this study, a hybrid framework was proposed to evaluate ecological and aesthetic values of five landscape types in Houguanhu Region of central China. Data from the public aesthetic survey and professional ecological assessment were converted into a two-dimensional coordinate system and distribution maps of landscape values. Results showed that natural landscapes (i.e. water body and forest) contributed positively more to both aesthetic and ecological values than semi-natural and human-dominated landscapes (i.e. farmland and non-ecological land). The distribution maps of landscape values indicated that the aesthetic, ecological and integrated landscape values were significantly associated with landscape attributes and human activity intensity. To combine aesthetic preferences with ecological services, the methods (i.e. field survey, landscape value coefficients, normalized method, a two-dimensional coordinate system, and landscape value distribution maps) were employed in landscape assessment. Our results could facilitate to identify the underlying structure-function-value chain, and also improve the understanding of multiple functions in landscape planning. The situation context could also be emphasized to bring ecological and aesthetic goals into better alignment.

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