Forest landscape plays a critical role in the resource management and recreational planning of forest destinations. An assessment of forest landscape quality (FLQ) could reflect the distribution of landscape resources, hence identifying the hotpots and areas with high visual quality and protection values. The objective of this study is to propose, for the first time, a methodology for assessing FLQ at the national level. Based on China’s forestry inventory database, the paper identified landform patterns and vegetative patterns as determinants (including 12 indicators) to establish an evaluation index system, and further implemented and mapped FLQ using the ArcGIS Engine platform. Results show high mountain ranges and tropical areas in China often have a high-quality forest landscape, while low FLQ scores are found in low mountains and foothills. The distribution of the four FLQ levels indicates most forest areas are featured with mediocre- or low- quality landscape values, and the differences of FLQ among different forest types are obvious. Furthermore, there is a relatively low correlation between the total forest area and the area of high-quality forest landscape. Overall, this study could contribute to enriching the existing assessment system for FLQ and to guiding the planning, policy development, and decision-making for China’s forestry administration.
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