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Assessing the aesthetic quality of landscapes in Germany


  • Hermes, Johannes
  • Albert, Christian
  • von Haaren, Christina


A high landscape aesthetic quality (LAQ) arguably is an important ecosystem service that positively affects humans’ health and well-being. It is strongly appreciated by citizens and provides the backdrop and precondition for many outdoor activities. The objective of this paper is to map and assess the LAQ of landscapes across Germany. We developed and tested a method for a spatially explicit national assessment of LAQ. The method uses landscape diversity, naturalness and uniqueness as established indicators for landscape attractiveness, and applies several landscape metrics as proxies to spatially evaluate and map each of them. The results demonstrate that the LAQ varies substantially across Germany. Areas of high LAQ are located in the German high and many low mountain ranges, in riverine landscapes, and at the German coast and islands, whereas particularly low LAQ scores are found in urban agglomerations and intensively used open agrarian landscapes. The proportional distribution of values shows that most area is covered with mediocre scores, and that areas of extremely high or low scores are rare. The results respond to the EU biodiversity strategy’s request to member states to map and assess ecosystem services, and can usefully inform national and sub-national policy-, plan-, and decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Hermes, Johannes & Albert, Christian & von Haaren, Christina, 2018. "Assessing the aesthetic quality of landscapes in Germany," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 31(PC), pages 296-307.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:31:y:2018:i:pc:p:296-307
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2018.02.015

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