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Abstract

This study adopts a choice modelling framework to disentangle individu-al preferences for rural landscape attributes based on the viewing of photographs of the Irish countryside. Using ordered logit and standard panel and pooled regression models, societal preferences are quantified for rural landscape attributes, grouped into natural, agricultural and human-built non-agricultural categories. The prefer-ences of 430 individuals towards 50 rural landscape photographs are analysed. The results show positive preferences for landscapes with natural attributes such as cliffs, mountainous features, water and native trees, as well as preferences for neat/managed agricultural landscapes and traditional human-built features such as stone walls and planted hedgerows. The study shows negative preferences for features such as flood-ing, unmanaged landscapes, industrial turf cutting and mechanised features such as wind turbines. There is significant preference heterogeneity observed across the sam-ple particularity across the urban-rural residency divide. It is argued that analysing preferences for specific attributes of landscapes rather than preferences for individual landscape photographs allows for further applications particularly in the area of simu-lation.

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