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Summary of Programme

This research programme will focus on the wider societal wellbeing benefits of and relationships with trees and woodlands to explore how these change across the urban-rural continuum, over time, and how to maintain and improve the delivery of these benefits as new treescapes are being created and existing ones expanded. The methodologies and methods used will include data review and synthesis, methodological exploration, innovation and development, and primary data gathering.

Connecting and engaging diverse people and communities with trees, woods and forests has become increasingly important in recent years due to major societal and environmental issues including concerns about widespread mental health problems, inactive and sedentary populations with obesity and overweight and the Coronavirus pandemic.  Increasing tree and woodland cover across the UK will lead to substantial landscape scale change and understanding the different perspectives on this change (both positive and negative) and how society can be engaged with this agenda is critical.

Work Areas

WA1: Societal perspectives on and engagement with urban, peri-urban and rural treescapes

Synthesising and updating existing evidence on how publics engage with trees, woods and forests, and preferences for and understandings of choices made in managing and creating trees and landscapes.

WA2: Methodological development and engagement through new technologies

Examining the effectiveness and applicability of different digital/novel/media/app/large scale data that can be used to understand who is connecting with and benefiting from trees, woods and forests and how they are doing so.

Key Topics

Cultural ecosystem services, values and benefitsPublic preferencesPublic perceptionsEngagement with nature children and young peopleEngagement with nature during Covid-19Health and wellbeingEvaluations

 Contributing Science Groups

  • Urban Forest Research Group
  • Land Use and Ecosystem Services
  • Social & Economic Research Group
  • Inventory, Forecasting and Operational Support (IFOS)

Programme Manager

Liz O’Brien

Work Area Co-Leads – Clare Hall, Chris Pollard