The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has been working with partners including the Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission to assess the feasibility of re-introducing pine martens into the Forest of Dean.
Forest Research is undertook attitudinal research with stakeholders and the public to understand levels of awareness about pine marten ecology, and their perspectives around a potential re-introduction in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.
The findings were used as part of the consultation process and to aid the development of locally appropriate engagement campaigns.
- A stakeholder mapping exercise identified individuals and organisations around the Forest of Dean with specific interests in the pine marten
- Semi structured interviews with 20 key stakeholders
- An on-street survey with 265 members of the public in the Forest of Dean.
In principle the stakeholders and the residents of the Forest of Dean are supportive of the idea of a pine marten reintroduction, and very few people were openly against the idea. The public survey returned 71% supportive or the idea of reintroduction and 3.4% were against. However, the evidence shows that this support is not unconditional. The majority of stakeholders and the majority of local residents felt their support was contingent on certain conditions being properly met. Those conditions prioritised:
- effective monitoring of any pine marten reintroduction to track impacts on other species and local ecologies
- effective mitigation measures put in place to protect locally and nationally significant species – most particularly bats and some birds
- continued engagement (i.e. communication) and involvement of stakeholders and the public in future decision making and management of a pine marten reintroduction project.
The main value and benefits that stakeholders and the public saw in a pine marten reintroduction emphasised:
- protecting the pine marten as a native species
- potential to maintain or increase biodiversity in Forest of Dean and Wye Valley area
- potential to restore the “natural balance”.
The main dis-benefits and concerns raised by stakeholders and the public related to:
- risks to the pine martens themselves, e.g. from traffic or human persecution
- risks to protected species and other wildlife, most particularly horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus spp)
potential financial cost to businesses, e.g. poultry rearing.
Start date: April 2017
End date: March 2018
The social researchers at Forest Research offer public attitudes consultancy services to a wide range of customers working in the forestry, land-based and conservation management sector
Funders and partners
This project is a contracted service for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are the project managers of the Forest of Dean pine marten reintroduction feasibility study. The Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission are partners. The Woodland Trust and Forest Holidays are supporting the project.