The impacts of knowledge of the past on preferences for future landscape change



Hanley N, Ready R, Colombo S, Watson F, Stewart M & Bergmann A (2009) The impacts of knowledge of the past on preferences for future landscape change. Journal of Environmental Management, 90 (3), pp. 1404-1412.

In this paper, we investigate whether people's knowledge of the past influences their preferences and values towards future landscape change. “Knowledge of the past” is one aspect of the information set held by individuals, and a well-established finding in economics is that changes in information can change preferences and values. The particular aspects of knowledge of the past we work with here are: (i) awareness of past landuse, as represented by woodland cover and (ii) awareness of differing and sometimes contradictory literary impressions of this past landscape. The case studies used here relate to prospective changes in woodland cover in two UK national parks, the Lake District and the Trossachs. We find that people who are made aware that the landscape has changed over time, or that perceptions of the landscape have changed over time, are more likely to favour changes to the current landscape (are less likely to favour the status quo). Knowledge of the past therefore seems to have an impact on preferences for future landscapes. We also investigate the impacts on preferences of how “special”, how “wild” and how “worked in” people perceive the landscapes of these two national parks to be.

environmental history; landscape values; Landscape assessment Great Britain; Forests and forestry Environmental aspects Scotland; National parks and reserves Trossachs (Scotland)

Journal of Environmental Management: Volume 90, Issue 3

Publication date31/03/2009
Publication date online14/10/2008
Date accepted by journal25/08/2008