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ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: Mapping Landscape Values: Issues, Challenges and Lessons Learned from Field Work on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington

  • Diane T. Besser (a1), Rebecca McLain (a2), Lee Cerveny (a3), Kelly Biedenweg (a4) and David Banis (a5)...


In order to inform natural resource policy and land management decisions, landscape values mapping (LVM) is increasingly used to collect data about the meanings that people attach to places and the activities associated with those places. This type of mapping provides geographically referenced data on areas of high density of values or associated with different types of values. This article focuses on issues and challenges that commonly occur in LVM, drawing on lessons learned in the US Forest Service Olympic Peninsula Human Ecology Mapping Project. The discussion covers choosing a spatial scale for collecting data, creating the base map, developing data collection strategies, the use of ascribed versus assigned values, and the pros and cons of different mapping formats. Understanding the common issues and challenges in LVM will assist policy makers, land managers, and researchers in designing a LVM project that effectively balances project goals, time and budgetary constraints, and personnel resources in a way that ensures the most robust data and inclusive public participation.

Environmental Practice 16: 138–150 (2014)


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to: Diane T. Besser, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751; (phone) 503-784-7109 (cell); (fax) 503-725-2690; (e-mail)


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