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An Interactive Tool to Generate and Assess Desired Land Use Visions

The LANDPREF tool was originally developed through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission in the project OPERAs, and is available under a Creative Commons licence. It works by prompting the user to indicate their degree of preference for a series of landscape features and activities and instantaneously displaying the result in the form of a virtual landscape. Since some of the features and activities complement or constrain others, the tool forces the user to consider the co-benefits and trade-offs integral to real world, landscape planning.

Forest Research have modified the components in the tool to reflect a broader range of landscape options, notably through the addition of a commercial forestry component and a carbon sequestration indicator. These modifications allow for more nuanced feedback for those with a stake in landscapes with existing trees or landscapes with potential for woodland creation.


The tool has successfully been incorporated into public attitudes research in order to better understand which features and activities are most desirable, and to determine how preferences differ with demographic characteristics. It can also be used in workshop and focus group settings as a way to collaboratively design a desirable landscape, or to generate discussion around a number of landscape futures or visions.

The FR LANDPREF tool will soon be available to download and trial free of charge. In addition, we can assist with collecting and interpreting data generated via the tool, either through workshops, focus groups or as part of a broader survey.

Additional resources

Sing, L., Metzger, M. J., & Ray, D. (2019). Do public attitudes towards forestry align with government policy objectives? Insights from a case study in north west Scotland. Scottish Forestry, 3, 43–52.

Schmidt, K., Walz, A., Martín-López, B., & Sachse, R. (2017). Testing socio-cultural valuation methods of ecosystem services to explain land use preferences. Ecosystem Services, 26, 270–288.

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Related research


Attitudes to Woodland Expansion in Southern Scotland

A review of the methods available for eliciting local attitudes to woodland expansion (or other land use change), and findings from an attitudinal study in Southern Scotland.

Status completed