As more people move to rural areas, incorporating the diverse values they hold for the landscape becomes a greater challenge for landscape planners and managers. This study attempts to develop a better understanding of rural residents' landscape values within an ecosystem and benefits-management context. Using a two-phase approach, researchers first conducted three focus/nominal group meetings to identify valued ecological features in the Leech Lake watershed (LLW) of northern Minnesota, benefits they attain from the watershed, and changes they would like to see to the planning and management of the region. Next researchers purposely sampled LLW stakeholders to measure their attitudes and values for the role of nature in their community, valued ecological features, potential landscape benefits, and potential planning and management changes. Results show stakeholders value the natural ecosystem and experiential benefits associated with nature, but they also indicate values directly tied to their community. Future planning of the LLW must focus on sustaining ecosystem-related experiential benefits in an area faced with a growing population. Increased collaboration with locals appears to be the most supported strategy to achieve this difficult goal.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Office of Planning and supported by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. R-08685. The authors also thank journal reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which helped to substantially improve the manuscript. Finally, Noah Standridge deserves special recognition for his assistance with the editing and formatting of this article.
- Benefits-based management
- Community development
- Ecosystem management
- Landscape planning
- Public participation