Evaluation of Natural Environments

  • Martin Murie
Conference paper
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 1)


My main concern in this report is to suggest a rapprochement with nature in which nature is respected but we people are not required to hate our presence on the planet. I define “natural environment” as any place where organisms exist in mutual relations that are free of direct management or other drastic human intervention; but presence or absence of people is not a criterion. Plant succession is a key concept for recognizing the vast number and variety of natural areas that are usually not considered natural simply because humans are nearby. With such an attitude, we are free to set up methods for evaluation that are realistic. Two broad categories of environmental traits important for human enjoyment are proposed. These are variety and accessibility. These categories are supported mainly by examples of exploratory evaluations of diverse bits of habitat in the United States, England, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. Conventional methods are also discussed, and some descriptions of alternatives to these are presented, particular reference being made to the work of Luna Leopold2 and Ian McHarg.3


Outdoor Recreation Vegetation Stand Scenic Beauty Geographical Review Roadside Verge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Craighead, F. C., Jr., and J. J. Craighead. River Systems. Recreational classification, inventory and evaluation, Naturalist. No. 2: 3–13 (1962).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leopold, L. B. 1969. Quantitative Comparison of Some Aesthetic Factors Among Rivers. Geological Survey Circular 620, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    McHarg, I. L. Design With Nature. The Natural History Press, New York, 1969.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mid-Continent Regional Study Team. Wild Rivers Study; Upper Green River, Wyoming (Fontanelle Reservoir to Green River Lakes): Preliminary report. (mimeographed) U.S. Depts. of Interior and Agriculture, 1963.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Morisawa, M. Evaluation of Natural River Environments, Phase II. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Water Resources Research, Project No. C-1779, 1971.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Morisawa, M., and M. Murie. Evaluation of Natural River Environments, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Water Resources Research, Project No. C-1314, 1969.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ohmann, L. F., and R. R. Ream. Wilderness Ecology: a method of sampling and summarizing data for plant community classification. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service Research Paper NC-49, 1971.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Price, W. The Little Miami of Ohio: A study of a Wild and Scenic River. Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, 1967.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shafer, E. L., Jr., J. E. Hamilton, Jr., and E. A. Schmidt. Natural Landscape Preferences: A Predictive Model, Journal of Leisure Research 1(1): 1–19 (1969).Google Scholar
  10. BibliographyGoogle Scholar
  11. Appleyard, D., K. Lynch, and J. R. Myer. The View From the Road. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1964.Google Scholar
  12. Barker, R. G., and L. S. Barker. The psychological ecology of old people in midwest Kansas and Yoredale, Yorkshire, J. of Gemontology 16(2): 144–149(1961).Google Scholar
  13. Clark, R. K. Before the Picturesque. Landscape 17: 18–21 (1968).Google Scholar
  14. Errington, P. L. Of Wilderness and Wolves. The Living Wilderness 33: 3–7 (1969).Google Scholar
  15. Kates, R. The pursuit of beauty in the environment. Landscape 16(2): 21–25 (1966).Google Scholar
  16. Lowenthal, D., and H. C. Prince. The English landscape. The Geographical Review 54(3): 309–346 (1964).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lowenthal, D., and H. C. Prince.The American scene. The Geographical Review 58: 61–88 (1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lucas, R. C. Wilderness perception and use: the example of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Natural Resources Journal 3(3): 394–411 (1964).Google Scholar
  19. MacKaye, B. Expedition Nine. A Return to a Region. The Wilderness Society, Washington, D. C., 1969.Google Scholar
  20. Nash, R. Wilderness and the American Mind. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, Conn., 1967.Google Scholar
  21. Sargent, F. O Scenery Classification. Agricultural Experiment Station. Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, 1967.Google Scholar
  22. Saarinen, T. F. Perception of Environment. Resource Paper No. 5. Commission on College Geography. Assoc.of American Geographers, Washington, D. C., 1969.Google Scholar
  23. Shafer, E. L., Jr., and R. C. Thompson. Models that describe use of Adirondack campgrounds, Forest Science 14(4): 383–391 (1968).Google Scholar
  24. Sonnenfeld, J. Variable values in space and landscape: an inquiry into the nature of environmental necessity, J. of Social Issues 23(4): 71–82 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yi—Fu Tuan. Attitudes toward environment: themes and approaches, pp. 4–17 in Environmental Perception and Environment. Research Paper No. 109, Univ. of Chicago, Dept. of Geography, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Murie
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Studies CenterAntioch CollegeYellow SpringsUSA

Personalised recommendations