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Abstract

Recent interest by environmental economists in landscape valuation has reopened a debate from the 1960s and 1970s concerning subjective (holistic) and objective (components-based) approaches to landscape assessment and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Contingent valuation seeks the required holistic value, but limits benefit transfer; besides, there are unresolved strategic and hypothetical biases. Hedonic pricing and choice experiments, by their components orientation, partly resolve these problems. Field exercises have shown that subjective valuations are as consistent and explicable as objective ones. Componentsbased approaches covertly require subjective judgement, and fail to account for crucial interactions of components in determining landscape quality. A combination of holistic and subjective assessment of landscape quality with objective measurement of willingness to pay for quality is the best means to assess the effect of trees on landscape value.

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