United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service

  ROS Primer and Field Guide

naturalness icon Naturalness

Refers to the degree of naturalness of the setting; it affects psychological outcomes associated with enjoying nature This indicator is portrayed by using a compatible visual quality objective (VQO) for each setting, as shown in the matrix on the next page. The USDA landscape Management Handbook series can provide further guidance

Preservation Retention Partial Retention Modification Maximum Modification
Primitive Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Motorized Compatible Compatible Norm (1) Incon. Unacceptable
Roaded Natural Compatible Norm Norm Norm (2) Incon. (3)
Rural Compatible Compatible Norm Norm (2) Incon. (3)
Urban Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible NA

(1) Norm from sensitive roads and trails (see USDA Handbook 462)
(2) Norm only in MG2 where roaded modified subclass is used (see USDA Handbook 462)
(3) Unacceptable where roaded modified subclass is used

photograph: a trail through the woods

Along Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized trails, very small openings such as this may be appropriate to add sunlight and fall color. Except for a few stumps, negative elements are not evident achieving the retention VQO.

photograph: looking out across the hills.

In this eastern middleground landscape the evident timber harvest maintains vegetative texture to accomplish partial retention.

photograph: camping in the woods

Providing basic human habitat needs is important in each setting, particularly in dispersed parts of Roaded settings. Like the other animals, people desire protection from the elements, hiding cover to screen out other individuals and activities, close proximity to water, natural-appearing edges, and an unencumbered, flat site for camping, picnicking, etc.

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