Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approaches in landscape monitoring

Date:
December 12, 2013
Source:
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Summary:
People who live in rural parts of rural parts of Switzerland perceive their place of residence as a more beautiful and authentic landscape than people who live in peri-urban areas.

Landscapes can be multifaceted, they have a recreative and relaxing effect.
Credit: Image courtesy of Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

People who live in rural parts of rural parts of Switzerland perceive their place of residence as a more beautiful and authentic landscape than people who live in peri-urban areas. This is one of the latest results achieved by the Federal Office for the Environment's Landscape Monitoring Switzerland programme (LABES), which identifies indicators used to measure changes in landscapes and monitors their perception by the people living there. The Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL provided the scientific support for the development of this innovative approach to landscape monitoring.

Related Articles


What are the qualities of the Swiss landscape? How do people assess the state of the landscape? These are the kinds of questions being taken up by the Landscape Monitoring Switzerland programme (LABES) launched by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in 2008. The programme uses 34 indicators to describe the state of the landscape and changes in it. The innovative aspect is that some indicators also show how the people living in a landscape perceive it.

The second LABES interim report published on 12 December 2013 (see box below) reveals the results for 12 new indicators, based among other things on a representative nationwide survey conducted by the Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. Local residents were, for example, asked how they perceived the landscape in their municipality in terms of its beauty, to determine what was special or fascinating about it and to assess the quality of the landscape in their immediate surroundings.

Landscape quality deemed best in rural areas

On average, residents across Switzerland tend to regard their local landscape as beautiful, unique and a source of fascination. However, there were also some clear differences in the results, with the inhabitants of rural areas giving substantially more positive assessments than residents living in densely populated areas. One striking finding was that the quality of core cityscapes is considered in a more positive light than the quality of peri-urban landscapes, which scored lowest in people's estimations. So here the rapid changes in landscapes seen over the past few decades seem to have left their mark in local residents' assessment of their surroundings.

Another finding emerging from the latest LABES findings is that light emissions in Switzerland are continuing to rise, having increased by 70% between 1994 and 2009. Fewer areas are dark at night, and on the Swiss plateau and in the Jura mountains there is nowhere that is entirely dark at night.

Another new indicator is "infrastructure-free areas." Only a quarter of landscapes throughout Switzerland are still free of human-made structures like houses or infrastructure. Most such places are in the Alps. In the Jura mountains the figure is a mere 2% or thereabouts and on the Swiss plateau it is less than 0.5%.

For the first time we also have some indication of the accessibility of creeks, rivers, and lakes in Switzerland. The proportion of freely accessible lakesides and riverbanks varies from region to region, but everywhere over 80% of them are readily accessible. On the Swiss plateau more than 30% of freely accessible river banks are within 20 metres of a hiking trail.

Pioneering work in landscape monitoring

Landscapes are a decisive factor determining the perceived quality of life of communities and the attractiveness of recreational spaces and tourist destinations. This makes innovative landscape monitoring imperative, both for describing changes in the landscape and for assessing how they are perceived by the local population. As a result, in future we will be able to say not only how a landscape has changed, but also whether the perception of these changes is constant throughout time or varies with society's change of values. To this end, the FOEN will incorporate landscape monitoring in its regular reports on the state of the environment, giving Switzerland a landscape monitoring tool unique in Europe.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. "New approaches in landscape monitoring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212103321.htm>.
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. (2013, December 12). New approaches in landscape monitoring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212103321.htm
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. "New approaches in landscape monitoring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212103321.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins