Expert and novice group differences in eye movements when assessing biodiversity of harvested forests

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The European Landscape Convention encourages everyone to be part of the management and perception of the landscape. In Swedish forestry today, however, it is experts in biodiversity who are responsible for the management policies used when planning tree retention as a biodiversity conservation strategy. This gives the forest a certain structure, but it is uncertain whether this structure is felt to represent the same biodiversity when assessed by novices rather than biodiversity experts. Using eye tracking and subjective assessment scales, the present study investigates whether biodiversity expertise has an effect on biodiversity rating and its certainty, fixation durations, and dwell times in the field layer in the foreground when assessing images of recently logged forest that has some degree of tree retention. The results show no significant difference in the assessments of the images between the two groups; however, the certainty assessments and the eye-tracking data suggest that there are differences in strategies and behaviour. The findings have implications for the interpretation of self-reported data corresponding to measured behaviour when judging the biodiversity of a forest landscape. The study suggest that there could be differences between user groups that previous studies miss out on, and that eye tracking as a method could help detect these differences.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Aspects of ICT


  • Forestry, Eye tracking, Expert novice study, Landscape assessment, Tree, retention, Ecological assessment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch