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Mapping human environment connections on the Olympic Peninsula: an atlas of landscape values


R. McLain
Paul M. Montesano
André Beaudoin
Guoqing Sun
Michael A. Wulder
S. Rohdy



Publication type:


Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Portland State University, Department of Geography, Occasional Paper Series #7, June 2013.


The advent of computerized mapping has greatly expanded the ability of land managers to map many aspects of ecological systems, such as tree species, soil types, wildlife habitat, air quality, and water conditions. Mapping the social and cultural aspects of ecological systems, however, has proved much more challenging. This atlas uses the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington to illustrate how the application of computerized mapping to the study of human ecology can help address this challenge.

Human ecology is a science that takes a systems approach to understanding humanenvironmental interactions at multiple scales. These interactions can include visible connections, such as hunting, hiking, mushroom harvesting, taking photographs, snowmobiling, and other activities. They can also include invisible connections such as the importance or meanings that people associate with a particular mountain, meadow, seascape, or other location. By capturing these complex connections in the form of computerized maps, human ecology mapping makes it easier to combine them with other mapped data, such as vegetation types, geological formations, and transportation networks.

This atlas provides an overview of what human ecology mapping is and demonstrates how it can be used to reach better understandings of the complex ways in which humans are connected to landscapes.


McLain, R.; Cerveny, L.; Besser, D.; Banis, D.; Biedenweg, K.; Todd, A.; Kimball-Brown,C.; Rohdy, S. 2015. Mapping human environment connections on the Olympic Peninsula: an atlas of landscape values. Portland, OR: Portland State University. 81.p.

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