A values-based wood-fuel landscape evaluation: building a fuzzy logic framework to integrate socio-cultural, ecological, and economic value

Smith, Darrell J. (2014) A values-based wood-fuel landscape evaluation: building a fuzzy logic framework to integrate socio-cultural, ecological, and economic value. Doctoral thesis, University of Lancaster.

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Abstract

In meeting the UK Government's national and international renewable energies commitments and their role in UK energy security, decarbonisation of energy use, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, the recognition of a potential for considerable scaling up of UK woodland coverage is emphasised. Also, UK forestry has increasingly become realigned with the global sustainability agenda encompassing issues such as native woodlands, the decline of woodland biodiversity, the Government’s quality of life indicators, and ideas of socio-cultural, ecological and economic landscape scale values. Accordingly, socio-cultural interaction with the natural world places structure and components into the landscape, the subsequent combinations of which are characterised by consequent ecological and economic conditions. As a consequence compositional, structural, spatial and temporal differences produce different value outcomes. This thesis explores these value outcomes illustrating the multi-dimensional nature of the relationships that society experience with their surrounding landscape, across a range of case study wood-fuel producing landscapes.

The case study landscapes describe traditional silvo-pastoral management, Natura 2000 forest, primarily managed around ideas of ecosystem goods and services, co-operatively and commercially owned sustainable forestry. Differences in value are observed between and within landscapes, value domains and value components. These differences reflect tensions that exist between sustainability and society’s continued use of natural resources. Consequently value articulates the nature of relationships between and within multiple value components, characterised by competing socio-cultural, ecological, economic interests. Thus value, as a concept, is built through an understanding of the connected, embedded nature of society’s relationship with the natural world.

Using a novel fuzzy logic modelling based approach to valuation, the consequences of land-use choices and the associated changes across socio-cultural, ecological and economic value domains are made visible. Understanding the complex nature of these interrelated and interdependent relationships can inform the political and institutional decision making and policy setting process. In this manner knowledge of interaction, interdependence and the reality of trade-offs, consistent with systems describe by finitude, can support and facilitate deliberative discourse. Where the true nature of value is considered an emergent property expressed through an appreciation of the value components and the outcomes of their relationships. Thus value is fundamentally a comparative property and not the outcome of an accumulative argument.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Departments: Centre for Wildlife Conservation
Additional Information: This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Lancaster, UK.
Depositing User: Darrell J. Smith
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2017 13:15
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2017 03:41
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3191

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