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Application of stated-preferences methods and neuroscience for the valuation of dynamicity in forest cultural ecosystem services

Gianluca Grilli, Elena Barbierato, Irene Capecchi and Sandro Sacchelli

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022, vol. 65, issue 3, 398-417

Abstract: In this study, we combined virtual reality and electroencephalogram (EEG) methods in a lab setting to evaluate the restorative effects of forests on the mental state. In doing so, we compared forests in different vegetative seasons, varying types of forest stands, and forest densities. Twenty participants were exposed to videos of forests with different tree species compositions and cover densities across two seasons. At the same time, participants were monitored with an EEG device that recorded brain waves associated with the emotional mental state to understand varying levels of restoration associated with the different forest species. The EEG analysis was coupled with a self-rated measure of restoration, collected using the Restoration Outcome Scale and visual indexes of greenness. The results indicated that restorative effects were higher in summer season with high-density cover of forests composed of black pine. It was also found that restoration was affected by the degree of greenness, as suggested by its correlation with brain waves. These results, integrated with future suggestions for improvement, can be useful for forest management and territorial marketing to design dedicated forested areas for the purposes of restoration and the enhancement of mood state.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2021.1885354

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