Abstract: During the last decade, agriculture has lost its importance in many European mountain regions and tourism, which benefits from attractive landscapes, has become a major source of income. Changes in landscape patterns and elements might affect scenic beauty and therefore the socio-economic welfare of a region. Our study aimed at modeling scenic beauty by quantifying the influence of landscape elements and patterns in relationship to distance. Focusing on Alpine landscapes in South and North Tyrol, we used a photographic questionnaire showing different landscape compositions. As mountain landscapes offer long vistas, we related scenic beauty to different distance zones. Our results indicate that the near zone contributes by 64% to the valuation of scenic beauty, the middle zone by 22%, and the far zone by 14%. In contrast to artificial elements, naturalness and diversity increased scenic beauty. Significant differences between different social groups (origin, age, gender, cultural background) occurred only between the local population and tourists regarding great landscape changes. Changes towards more homogenous landscapes were perceived negatively, thus political decision makers should support the conservation of the cultural landscape.
Keywords: distance zones; landscape composition; landscape diversity; regional development; scenic beauty; socio-demographic groups
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Schirpke, U.; Hölzler, S.; Leitinger, G.; Bacher, M.; Tappeiner, U.; Tasser, E. Can We Model the Scenic Beauty of an Alpine Landscape? Sustainability 2013, 5, 1080-1094.
Schirpke U, Hölzler S, Leitinger G, Bacher M, Tappeiner U, Tasser E. Can We Model the Scenic Beauty of an Alpine Landscape? Sustainability. 2013; 5(3):1080-1094.
Schirpke, Uta; Hölzler, Sonja; Leitinger, Georg; Bacher, Maria; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Tasser, Erich. 2013. "Can We Model the Scenic Beauty of an Alpine Landscape?" Sustainability 5, no. 3: 1080-1094.