Shared appreciation of woodland landscapes by land management professionals and lay people: an exploration through field-based interactive photo-elicitation

Norman Dandy, Rene Van der Wal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Woodlands and forests perform multiple functions for contemporary society. Their management affects, and is affected by, numerous stakeholders each of which relate to and appreciate woodlands in distinct ways. Capturing these stakeholder preferences for inclusion within increasingly collaborative planning and management processes is recognised as an important task. This paper describes and analyses an innovative, strongly qualitative method (field-based interactive photo-elicitation) via which to achieve this. Small groups of research participants were taken to visit, and thus experience, three predominantly oak woodlands in the UK, representing different levels of deer browsing. The impact of large herbivores is strongly related to the functions that woodlands can perform, but their management can be particularly contentious and thus perhaps a key challenge to stakeholder collaboration. The participants' were encouraged to record this experience through taking photographs, and making notes. These photographs and notes formed the stimulus for group discussion, immediately following the field visits. Data analysis followed an inductive ('grounded') approach and identified seven key themes in the participants reported preferences for woodland landscapes. We conclude that the method advances the field of landscape preference assessment and can capture stakeholder preferences in a rich and cost-effective manner. The research identified substantial shared appreciation of woodland landscapes across 'professional' and 'lay' social groups, challenging several previous studies. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2011


  • woodland
  • landscape perceptions
  • photo-elicitation
  • landscape planning
  • digital photography
  • qualitative methods

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