Integration of Visual Quality Considerations in Development of Israeli Vegetation Management Policy
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This article deals with the visual quality of Mediterranean vegetation groups in northern Israel, the public's preference of these groups as a visual resource, and the policy options for their management. The study is based on a sample of 44 Mediterranean vegetation groups and three population groups of local residents, who were interviewed using a questionnaire and photographs of the vegetation groups. The results of the research showed that plant classification methods based on flora composition, habitat, and external appearance were found to be suitable for visual plant classification and for the evaluation of visual preference of vegetation groups by the interviewed public. The vegetation groups of planted pine forests and olive groves, characterizing a cultured vegetation landscape, were preferred over typical Mediterranean landscapes such as scrub and grassed scrub. The researchers noted a marked difference between the two products of vegetation management policy, one that proposes the conservation and restoration of the variety of native Mediterranean vegetation landscape, and a second that advanced the development of the cultured landscape of planted olive groves and pines forests, which were highly preferred by the public. The authors suggested the development of an integrated vegetation management policy that would combine both needs and thus reduce the gap between the policy proposed by planners and the local population's visual preference.
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