Why Plant Trees / Landscape Design and Scenic Quality
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Designing a Farm Forest

Landscape Design and Scenic Quality

Trees and forests, and their management, can have a significant impact on the visual and social landscape. Most farmers would agree that poorly integrated plantation development can actually detract from the scenic quality of an agricultural landscape as much as overclearing, soil erosion or the uncontrolled spread of weeds. By carefully considering the design and ways in which tree growth and management may influence the ‘feel’ of the area, farm forestry can be an effective means of enhancing the agricultural landscape.

There are some simple principles or guidelines that may help in understanding how the establishment of new forests or the management of existing ones may impact on the scenic quality of the landscape:

• The scale of the forest should reflect the scale of the surrounding landscape
• Patterns or lines created by the forest should reflect or imitate the patterns and contour lines of the landscape
• A background vegetation type should be identified and used to extend a frame around different elements in the landscape.
• Unattractive elements such as roads, firebreaks, buildings or powerlines should be screened.
• The boundaries between different management zones should be softened.
• Visual penetration into the landscape should be maintained while retaining a sense of uncertainty about ‘what’s around the corner’.

What works in one landscape may not work in another. For example, linear belts or rectangular blocks may look more appropriate among rectangular paddocks and stark lines of a flat irrigation region than in a partially clear grazing landscape.

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