Table of Contents
Economics Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 259471, 12 pages
Research Article

Econometric Analysis of Landscape Preferences in Canterbury, New Zealand

1Landcare Research, Lincoln 7608, New Zealand
2Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Auckland 1143, New Zealand

Received 28 April 2014; Accepted 8 July 2014; Published 17 August 2014

Academic Editor: Magda E. Kandil

Copyright © 2014 P. Brown and C. Mortimer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The landscape of rural Canterbury, New Zealand, has evolved from tussock grasslands to one of the most productive dairying areas in the world. While these changes represent a boon for Canterbury’s economy, the visual impact of land-use change has been dramatic. In this paper, we evaluate which changes to the Canterbury landscape have been most pronounced, how people react to those changes, which aspects of the rural landscape are of greatest importance to both urban and rural residents of Canterbury, and whether cost-effective means of mitigating visual changes to the landscape exist. We find that the majority of Cantabrians hold unfavourable views of recent changes to the landscape—particularly with regard to dairying—a finding that is consistent across both urban and rural survey respondents. Using a visual assessment study with cross-classified random effect, we find that dairy cows, irrigators, and silage bales significantly reduce viewers’ subjective evaluations of landscapes while shelterbelts dramatically increase their subjective evaluations. Moreover, native New Zealand shelterbelts are preferred to exotic shelterbelts, but both are preferred to having no shelterbelts, suggesting that the negative visual impacts of dairy farming may be ameliorated by intensified tree planting.