Landscape and Ecological Engineering

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Assessing visual impacts of forest operations on a landscape in the Serre Regional Park of southern Italy

  • Francesco ScarfòEmail author
  • Roberto Mercurio
  • Carlos del Peso
Original Paper


Forest operations impose changes on biological, ecological, hydrological, social, and esthetic attributes of forested landscapes. Methodologies are needed to evaluate the visual impact of forest operations on landscapes as part of the planning process. We assessed the visual impact of forest operations on views from a major travel corridor within a protected area by analyzing three landscape characteristics: visibility, forest landscape quality, and visual sensitivity at distances ranging from 0 m to 5 km. A geographic information system was used to perform: (a) visibility analysis, (b) forest landscape quality analysis, (c) visual fragility analysis, and (d) landscape sensitivity analysis. The output was a landscape sensitivity map, a powerful planning tool that displays the most sensitive areas and the most sensitive forest type, in this study, specifically holm oak forest (Quercus ilex L.) managed under the coppice silvicultural system. Our results suggest some guidelines for reducing the visual impact of forest operations and demonstrate the efficacy of this methodology for designing the visual quality of forested landscapes.


Visual impact assessment Forest visual impact Geographic information system Landscape 



The authors wish to thank Douglas A. Maguire (Associate Professor at Oregon University) and two anonymous reviewers who helped improve this paper for publication.


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Scarfò
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto Mercurio
    • 1
  • Carlos del Peso
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest and Agricultural Systems ManagementMediterranean UniversityReggio CalabriaItaly
  2. 2.Departamento de Producción Vegetal y Recursos Forestales Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierías AgrariasUniversidad de ValladolidPalenciaSpain

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