Can Visual Aesthetic Components and Acceptance Be Traced Back to Forest Structure?

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



The importance of local forests as places of recreation and human well-being depends very much on their visual impact on human perception. Forest managers, therefore, seek to achieve structural elements or attributes that can be used to enhance the visual aesthetics of managed forest ecosystems. The following survey was undertaken in the Tharandter Forest in Saxony (Germany). The field interviews were focussed on visual aesthetics and acceptance. The statements of the 53 participants in the survey were used to analyse views concerning typical Norway spruce forest types: with the regeneration of deciduous tree species in the background, without regeneration, and with European beech as a second layer in the foreground. The evaluation of the questionnaires con-firmed a clear ranking. The forest view with the regeneration of deciduous tree species received the highest number of positive scores, followed by the forest view with beech as a second layer. The forest view characterised by pure and dense Norway spruce trees received the worst rating, differ-ing significantly from the other two, on the basis of the spatial arrangement, visual diversity and acceptance. Linear mixed models demonstrated that visual aesthetics was mostly explained by visual diversity as a result of tree species diversity or mixtures and age structures, the diversity of surrounding structures and colours, ground vegetation or visibility.


Original languageEnglish
Article number701
Number of pages21
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2021

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-3796-3444/work/142242185


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Aesthetics, European beech, Forest stand types, Norway spruce, Recreation, Structural elements, Visual perception