Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

John C. Ellsworth


John C. Ellsworth


Forest insect and disease pests alter the appearance of trees, thereby impacting visual resources. Because of the complexity of most forest landscapes, the degree of visual impact of pest-infested forest stands is difficult to quantify.

This paper describes a method of measuring visual impacts of pest-infested forest stands. Photographs of healthy Ponderosa pine trees were entered into a computer video-image-processing system. Using this system, images of trees were altered to simulate different degrees of infestation by limb rust, a forest pathogen.

The altered and unaltered images were shown to groups of observers who rated the scenes in terms of "scenic beauty." The great majority of individuals were able to detect a change in the appearance of trees infected with limb rust disease even when only small sections of a tree were altered. There was also general agreement within the groups of observers that the presence of limb rust disease had a detrimental effect on the visual quality of the forest scenes. The tests also suggested that the location of infestation in the tree crown, the amount of crown mortality, and the number of infected Ponderosa pine in a stand influenced the degree to which visual quality was impacted.