The Community Forest Agreement established in 1998 in the province of British Columbia was initiated to provide communities with increased access to and control over timber supply areas proximate to them. Following the initiation of this agreement, many communities throughout British Columbia sought to obtain Community Forest licenses in an attempt to exercise local control over forested lands adjacent to their communities, and to integrate a variety of values into the management of those forests. This study explores a singular value, that of landscape aesthetics. A grounded theory approach was used to interview local community members and determine their aesthetic landscape values. In addition, visual quality effectiveness evaluations were conducted on each of the sample community forests to evaluate their achievement of Visual Quality Objectives established by the Ministry of Forests Range and Natural Resource Operations. Taken together, these studies serve to evaluate how well the community forests of Revelstoke, McBride and Creston are managing for scenic quality, and documents the dominant aesthetic landscape values of members of these communities. My research findings suggest that biological, cultural and personal factors influence the development of aesthetic landscape values within the sample communities. Respondents expressed five categories of aesthetic landscape appreciation during the interview process: non-instrumental, ecological, recreational, visible stewardship and utilitarian. Despite variation in aesthetic valuation of local landscapes, a preferential trend exists towards landscapes with higher levels of canopy retention. Interview results indicate an overall satisfaction with management of visual quality by community forests. Results of the Visual Quality Effectiveness Evaluation indicate the sample community forests in my study have met, and in some cases surpassed, provincial expectations for maintaining and enhancing visual quality on provincial Crown lands. Analysis of aesthetic management in community forests can enrich co-management theory through attention to and inclusion of landscape preference theory, including how potential conflicts between aesthetic and utilitarian values may be resolved through innovative management practices.
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