Physical landscapes are dynamic. Both the forces of nature and humans work to keep landscapes in a continual state of flux. With natural forces such as erosion, we sometimes need the patience of time to observe more subtle changes in landscapes. More dramatic forces of change such as forest fires, floods, and human development provide immediate confirmation of the dynamic nature of landscapes.
Landscape values, like physical landscapes, are also dynamic. They change over time and are the result of changes in both physical landscapes and human needs and perceptions. Humans continually transact with landscapes, both immediate and distant, for survival and enjoyment. Landscape values and special places are emergent features of those transactions.
Landscape values can be visualized as layers of human perceptions overlayed on top of the physical landscape. Some landscape values, like economic, recreation, or subsistence value are closely related to physical landscape attributes. Other landscape values such as intrinsic or spiritual value are more symbolic in character with value location influenced more by individual perception or social construction than physical landscape attributes.
Like the forest fire that creates a mosaic of both burned and untouched vegetation, landscape values also display a mosaic of value layers on the landscape. The Flash animation below shows the mosaic of landscape values for the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon (U.S.A.). In the landscape value animation, you will observe landscape value layers being draped on top of the physical landscape. These value layers represent polygons of landscape values containing at least 75 percent of the mapped landscape values by Oregon residents for a typology of 12 landscape values. Note the particularly high degree of spatial overlap of landscape values for the area of the national forest containing Mt. Hood (snow-capped volcano toward center of image).