Assessing the interactions between landscape aesthetic quality and spatial indices in Gharasoo watershed, North of Iran

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Landscape quality assessment is a complex and multidimensional process that is influenced by various variables and spatial patterns. This study aimed to investigate the interactions between the ecological and visual criteria for landscape assessment and determine the correlation of aesthetic values and spatial indices in Gharasoo watershed of Golestan Province, north of Iran. Firstly, the interactions and weightings of the criteria were determined using analytic network process and decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory approaches. Then, technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution was used to assess the aesthetic quality of the watershed. Subsequently, Pearson correlation was applied to determine the relationship of the aesthetic quality and spatial indices. The results revealed that the criteria slope, elevation, vegetation type and vegetation density have the highest interactions and impacts in aesthetic quality assessment. The highest weights were also attributed to vegetation type, vegetation density, river visibility and waterfall visibility, respectively. The results showed that the southern areas of the watershed have a higher aesthetic quality than the northern parts. The Pearson analysis revealed positive correlation between aesthetic quality and normalized difference vegetation index, patch compactness and vegetation diversity indices and negative correlation with fragmentation index and land use diversity. Conclusively, landscape metrics can be used to assess and monitor the aesthetic quality of the region. In addition, considering the interactions of aesthetic quality and landscape pattern can facilitate the understanding of this process as well as increasing the awareness of land managers to improve conservation measurements.

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This work was funded by Iran National Science Foundation (INSF, Grant No. 96000310). We are grateful to Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (GUASNR) for sharing the required data, and we would like to express our appreciation to the anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to F. Ahmadi Mirghaed.

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Editorial responsibility: Parveen Fatemeh Rupani.

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Ahmadi Mirghaed, F., Mohammadzadeh, M., Salmanmahiny, A. et al. Assessing the interactions between landscape aesthetic quality and spatial indices in Gharasoo watershed, North of Iran. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 17, 231–242 (2020).

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  • Landscape assessment
  • Landscape metrics
  • Aesthetic quality