Modeling impacts of bark beetle infestations on forest visitor experiences and intended displacement

Ingrid E. Schneider, Arne Arnberger, Stuart P. Cottrell, Eick Von Ruschkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Bark beetle outbreak impacts are occurring at reportedly unprecedented levels. Despite previous research on the aesthetic and economic impacts of terrestrial pest infestations, minimal visitor behavioral response research exists. As beetle infestation progresses, both tree appearance and landscape change can negatively impact visitation and visitor revenue. Given the multiple-use mandate of most forests, this lack of research is surprising. To meet this gap, this study simulated impacts of varied beetle outbreak levels, management approaches, and visitor characteristics on interference with forest visitors' experience and intended displacement. Visitors at two forested US state park study sites, one with significant bark beetle impact and the other with much less, responded to onsite questionnaires with digitally calibrated photos depicting a variety of beetleimpacted forest scenarios. Up to 80 percent of visitors indicated forest scenarios with significant bark beetle impact would interfere with their experience, and 70 percent reported they would not visit or be displaced. Analyses revealed forest fore- and midground conditions with varying levels of impact significantly predicted both experience interference and displacement. The relative importance of social, biophysical, and managerial conditions differed between models. Results inform management and planning efforts as well as advance understanding of the biophysical and social factors influencing interference and intended displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-625
Number of pages12
JournalForest Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 30 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Colorado State Forest Service for access to the park and funding for data collection. Similarly, we thank the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for site access at Lake Bemidji State Park and the University of Minnesota Tourism Center for initial project support. In-kind support was provided by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. We would also like to thank the participants of the 2014 Intensive Program “Management of Parks and Protected Areas,” funded by the EU’s Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme, for data collection at Harz National Park.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Experience quality
  • Forest management
  • Interference
  • Logit model
  • Visual simulation


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