Evaluation for landscape aesthetic value of the Natural World Heritage Site

  • Shangchen Ha
  • Zhaoping YangEmail author


The landscape aesthetic value (LAV) is one essential component of outstanding universal value (OUV) for a Natural World Heritage Site (NWHS). In the identification of LAV, there is the subjectivity of methodology suggested by IUCN in the operation manual, and the expert-led evaluation is insufficient for reflecting all observers’ opinions. This study focuses on establishing a universal system combining the subjectivity and objectivity, the experts’ and the public’s opinions to evaluate the LAV of an NWHS. We used the NWHS criteria, the ecological environment, and the viewing experience as established indicators; nine metrics were applied as corresponding layers respectively to map and give a final spatial evaluation based on the ArcGIS overlay analysis with their comprehensive weights from 3 groups of decision makers. In order to verify the rationality of our model, the LAV of a case study in Bayanbulak of NWHS Xinjiang Tianshan has been evaluated. It is demonstrated that central region of Bayanbulak with unique landscape that taking rivers, lakes, and swamps as base interlacing with wetland meadows has particularly high LAV; it basically shows a concentric circle-like distribution feature that LAV decreases from inside to outside and is consistent with practical protection status. This study responds to the UNESCO’s request to monitor and evaluate the OUV of the NWHS; we believe results can provide a useful reference for the planning and decision-making of relevant scenic spots.


Evaluation and mapping Landscape aesthetic value Natural World Heritage Site GIS-based spatial overlay analysis Bayanbulak 



This paper is an outcome of the research and development project “Demonstration of monitoring and protection of ecological processes type and landscape aesthetic type natural world heritage sites”, with funding from the Chinese national key research and development program (No.2016YFC0503306). It is also supported by the Western PhD project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences “Study on the protection and development of western Tianshan cross-border natural heritage” (No. 2015-XBQN-B-19).

Supplementary material

10661_2019_7607_MOESM1_ESM.rar (6.3 mb)
ESM 1 (RAR 6490 kb)
10661_2019_7607_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (227 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 226 kb)
10661_2019_7607_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (4 mb)
ESM 3 (PDF 4124 kb)


  1. Bratman, G., Paul Hamilton, J., & Daily, G. (2012). The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health (Vol. 1249).Google Scholar
  2. Burkhard, B., Kroll, F., Nedkov, S., & Müller, F. (2012). Mapping ecosystem service supply, demand and budgets. Ecological Indicators, 21, 17–29. Scholar
  3. da Costa Cristiano, S., Portz, L. C., Anfuso, G., Rockett, G. C., & Barboza, E. G. (2018). Coastal scenic evaluation at Santa Catarina (Brazil): Implications for coastal management. Ocean and Coastal Management, 160, 146–157. Scholar
  4. Di Giovine, M. A. (2014). World heritage list: criteria, inscription, and representation. In C. Smith (Ed.), Encyclopedia of global archaeology (pp. 7885–7894). New York, NY: Springer New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ding, T., Yuan, L. I., & Liu, Y. (2009). Relationship between the change of NDVI and the main vegetative and climate factors in Bayinbuluk Grassland. In Remote Sensing Information.Google Scholar
  6. Dramstad, W. E., Tveit, M. S., Fjellstad, W. J., & Fry, G. L. A. (2006). Relationships between visual landscape preferences and map-based indicators of landscape structure. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78(4), 465–474. Scholar
  7. Egarter Vigl, L., Depellegrin, D., Pereira, P., de Groot, R., & Tappeiner, U. (2017). Mapping the ecosystem service delivery chain: capacity, flow, and demand pertaining to aesthetic experiences in mountain landscapes. Science of the Total Environment, 574, 422–436. Scholar
  8. Frank, S., Fürst, C., Koschke, L., Witt, A., & Makeschin, F. (2013). Assessment of landscape aesthetics—validation of a landscape metrics-based assessment by visual estimation of the scenic beauty. Ecological Indicators, 32, 222–231. Scholar
  9. Gobster, P. H., Nassauer, J. I., Daniel, T. C., & Fry, G. (2007). The shared landscape: what does aesthetics have to do with ecology? Landscape Ecology, 22(7), 959–972. Scholar
  10. Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., de Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014). Nature and health. Annual Review of Public Health, 35(1), 207–228. Scholar
  11. Hazen, H. (2008). “Of outstanding universal value”: the challenge of scale in applying the World Heritage Convention at national parks in the US. Geoforum, 39(1), 252–264. Scholar
  12. Jiyuan, K. U. A. N. G., Wenhui, Z. H. A. N. G., Zengxiang, X., et al. (2014). Spatiotemporal characteristics, patterns, and causes of land-use changes in China since the late 1980s. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 24(2), 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jokilehto, J., & Cameron, C. (2008). The world heritage list : what is OUV? : defining the outstanding universal value of cultural world heritage properties. Nurse Education Today, 31(6), 564–570.Google Scholar
  14. Joye, Y. (2007). Architectural lessons from environmental psychology: the case of biophilic architecture (Vol. 11).Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, A., Taşkın, T., & Önenç, A. (2006). Assessing the visual quality of rural and urban-fringed landscapes surrounding livestock farms. Biosystems Engineering, 95(3), 437–448. Scholar
  16. Karayalcin, I. I. (1982). The analytic hierarchy process: planning, priority setting, resource allocation: Thomas L. SAATY McGraw-Hill, New York, 1980, xiii +287 pages, £15.65. European Journal of Operational Research, 9(1), 97–98. Scholar
  17. Kienast, F., Degenhardt, B., Weilenmann, B., Wäger, Y., & Buchecker, M. (2012). GIS-assisted mapping of landscape suitability for nearby recreation. Landscape and Urban Planning, 105(4), 385–399. Scholar
  18. Li, D.-F. (2005). Multiattribute decision making models and methods using intuitionistic fuzzy sets. Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 70(1), 73–85. Scholar
  19. Liu, J., Wang, J., Wang, S., Wang, J., & Deng, G. (2018). Analysis and simulation of the spatiotemporal evolution pattern of tourism lands at the Natural World Heritage Site Jiuzhaigou, China. Habitat International, 79, 74–88. Scholar
  20. Maes, J., Liquete, C., Teller, A., Erhard, M., Paracchini, M. L., Barredo, J. I., Grizzetti, B., Cardoso, A., Somma, F., Petersen, J. E., Meiner, A., Gelabert, E. R., Zal, N., Kristensen, P., Bastrup-Birk, A., Biala, K., Piroddi, C., Egoh, B., Degeorges, P., Fiorina, C., Santos-Martín, F., Naruševičius, V., Verboven, J., Pereira, H. M., Bengtsson, J., Gocheva, K., Marta-Pedroso, C., Snäll, T., Estreguil, C., San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., Pérez-Soba, M., Grêt-Regamey, A., Lillebø, A. I., Malak, D. A., Condé, S., Moen, J., Czúcz, B., Drakou, E. G., Zulian, G., & Lavalle, C. (2016). An indicator framework for assessing ecosystem services in support of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. Ecosystem Services, 17, 14–23. Scholar
  21. Malekmohammadi, B., & Jahanishakib, F. (2017). Vulnerability assessment of wetland landscape ecosystem services using driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) model. Ecological Indicators, 82, 293–303. Scholar
  22. Mayor, M. F. (1973). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. Museum International, 25(1-2), 452–458.Google Scholar
  23. Migoń, P. (2018). Chapter 13 - Geoheritage and world heritage sites. In E. Reynard & J. Brilha (Eds.), Geoheritage (pp. 237–249). Amsterdam: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ode, Å., Hagerhall, C. M., & Sang, N. (2010). Analysing visual landscape complexity: theory and application. Landscape Research, 35(1), 111–131. Scholar
  25. Paracchini, M. L., Zulian, G., Kopperoinen, L., Maes, J., Schägner, J. P., Termansen, M., Zandersen, M., Perez-Soba, M., Scholefield, P. A., & Bidoglio, G. (2014). Mapping cultural ecosystem services: a framework to assess the potential for outdoor recreation across the EU. Ecological Indicators, 45, 371–385. Scholar
  26. Peng, H., Zhang, J., Lu, L., Tang, G., Yan, B., Xiao, X., & Han, Y. (2017). Eco-efficiency and its determinants at a tourism destination: a case study of Huangshan National Park, China. Tourism Management, 60, 201–211. Scholar
  27. Pierskalla, C. D., Deng, J., & Siniscalchi, J. M. (2016). Examining the product and process of scenic beauty evaluations using moment-to-moment data and GIS: the case of Savannah, GA. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 19, 212–222. Scholar
  28. Plieninger, T., Dijks, S., Oteros-Rozas, E., & Bieling, C. (2013). Assessing, mapping, and quantifying cultural ecosystem services at community level. Land Use Policy, 33, 118–129. Scholar
  29. Qian, L. I., Lanhai, L. I., & Bao, A. (2012). Snow cover change and impact on streamflow in the Kaidu River Basin. Resources Science, 34(1), 91–97.Google Scholar
  30. Rasoolimanesh, S. M., Dahalan, N., & Jaafar, M. (2016). Tourists’ perceived value and satisfaction in a community-based homestay in the Lenggong Valley World Heritage Site. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 26, 72–81. Scholar
  31. Rusnák, M., Sládek, J., Kidová, A., & Lehotský, M. (2018). Template for high-resolution river landscape mapping using UAV technology. Measurement, 115, 139–151. Scholar
  32. Ruzgienė, B., Berteška, T., Gečyte, S., Jakubauskienė, E., & Aksamitauskas, Č. (2015). The surface modelling based on UAV Photogrammetry and qualitative estimation (Vol. 73).Google Scholar
  33. Schirpke, U., Tasser, E., & Tappeiner, U. (2013). Predicting scenic beauty of mountain regions. Landscape and Urban Planning, 111, 1–12. Scholar
  34. Song, D., & Kuwahara, S. (2016). Ecotourism and World Natural Heritage: its influence on islands in Japan. Journal of Marine and Island Cultures, 5(1), 36–46. Scholar
  35. Tveit, M., Ode, Å., & Fry, G. (2006). Key concepts in a framework for analysing visual landscape character. Landscape Research, 31(3), 229–255. Scholar
  36. Uzun, O., & Muderrisoglu, H. (2011). Visual landscape quality in landscape planning: examples of Kars and Ardahan cities in Turkey (Vol. 6).Google Scholar
  37. van Zanten, B. T., Verburg, P. H., Koetse, M. J., & van Beukering, P. J. H. (2014). Preferences for European agrarian landscapes: a meta-analysis of case studies. Landscape and Urban Planning, 132, 89–101. Scholar
  38. Walz, U., & Stein, C. (2018). Indicator for a monitoring of Germany’s landscape attractiveness. Ecological Indicators, 94, 64–73. Scholar
  39. Xiaochun, Q., Yi, S., Shegang, S., & Dan, W. (2013). Highway landscape aesthetic experience: perception principle and psychological process (Vol. 368-370).Google Scholar
  40. Yoshimura, N., & Hiura, T. (2017). Demand and supply of cultural ecosystem services: use of geotagged photos to map the aesthetic value of landscapes in Hokkaido. Ecosystem Services, 24, 68–78. Scholar
  41. Zhang, B., Yao, Y., Cheng, W., Chenghu, Z., Zhou, L., & Xiaodong, C. (2002). Human-induced changes to biodiversity and alpine pastureland in the Bayanbulak region of the east Tianshan Mountains (Vol. 22).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations