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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

The ecology of visual landscapes: Exploring the conceptual common ground of visual and ecological landscape indicators

Fry, G.; Tveit, M. S.; Ode, A.; Velarde, M. D.


This paper explores the conceptual common ground between visual and ecological landscape indicators. indicators can be used to summarise complex information about landscape functions and the ability to extract a common set of indicators for analysing different landscape functions may provide valuable support for multiple-use planning.The development of landscape ecological indicators has been a very active research field that has resulted in a wide range of landscape metrics and composite indices with a strong conceptual base in landscape ecological principles. For the visual aspects of landscapes, however, this conceptual base is often missing and thus hindering progress in the development of indicators. This paper presents the results of an analysis of the correspondence between ecological indicators and visual indicators in order to explore whether there is common ground in both concept and operation. The conceptual level is presented for both ecological and visual indicators, as it is the concepts that define their aim and scope. We feel that transparency over this issue is crucial to the development and use of environmental indicators. The approach identified a candidate set of indicators that capture important aspects of both ecological and visual quality. The strength of the approach is that it forces us to focus on the identification of what we wish to indicate by means of landscape theory and assessment that are relevant to a specific landscape context. We believe that the approach presented here forms the basis for development of new methods for understanding the impact of landscape change in a management and planning context. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Indicator; Visual quality; Ecological; Landscape; Integrated

Published in

Ecological Indicators
2009, Volume: 9, number: 5, pages: 933-947
Publisher: Elsevier

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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