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Our research focuses on the interaction of people and wildlife in forests. This includes understanding the people’s attitudes towards wildlife and its management, along with the impacts that recreation has on wildlife.

Research objectives

  • To identify stakeholder attitudes towards and perceptions of wildlife and its management, and the links between these and their behaviours.
  • To understand the relationships between governance (e.g. legislation and policy) and future management options and needs, and stakeholder behaviour.
  • To ‘map’ the development of human-wildlife conflicts.
  • To promote best collaborative working practices for wildlife management and conservation (balancing government and others’ roles and responsibilities).
  • To identify, locate and understand human-wildlife interactions in urban and peri-urban settings.

Results so far

red_squirrel_in_tree.jpgEcological research into recreational disturbance of wildlife focuses primarily on a limited number of areas such as walking as an activity and impacts upon birds and soils. Long-term ecological studies of wildlife or habitat disturbance are scarce and considerably less work has been carried out on the social dimensions of recreational disturbance.

The majority of evidence on the relationship between recreation and conservation is focused at the site level, however assessment of these interactions should also take place at landscape scales to facilitate the wider provision of public benefits.

Collaborative wildlife management agendas across scales and social contexts are primarily set by contextual factors, particularly stakeholders drawing on specific cultures and policies, and predefining issues. The capacity of collaborative processes themselves to share power amongst stakeholders may therefore be limited.


This research programme started in 2009 and is ongoing.

Reports and presentations

Funders and partners

This project is funded by the Forestry Commission.


Mariella Marzano




Monitoring forest state and changes to its state are an important form of scientific exploration as well as precursor to formal reporting. Forest Research (FR) has considerable experience in this field, having taken periodic measurements in forest plots since the turn of the 20th century.

Research objectives

This programme facilitates the periodic measurement of a suite of environmental, biological and silvicultural variables so that scientifically sound statements can be made on the state of selected GB forest types.

It is based on the several existing monitoring platforms listed below but will, for the first time bring these formally together to allow up- and down-scaling between them, and promote efficient data capture and exploitation:

  • Forest condition plots
  • Permanent sample plots (PSPs)
  • Long-term experiments
  • Intensive forest monitoring plots
  • Biosoil plots
  • Forestry Commission sponsored Environmental Change Network Site.

The Integrated Forest Monitoring Network provides coverage of environmental gradients that allow for forest ecosystem responses to climate change and pests and diseases to be evaluated. Integration of monitoring platforms will also promote cross disciplinary scientific research and facilitate modelling, essential for predictive purposes in a changing environment.

Monitoring activities


The Integrated Forest Monitoring programme is responsible for co-ordinating our monitoring activities and maximising the use of the data collected. Several monitoring platforms are part of wider monitoring networks, including:

Research forests

The programme is also responsible for the establishment and management of Research Forests in Britain. These are locations where a ‘backbone’ of monitoring activities can be used to support scientific studies in a known environmental context:


Publications and presentations related to intensive forest monitoring since 2000.

Funders and partners

Monitoring and associated research activities are primarily funded by the Forestry Commission Integrated forest monitoring programme. Much of the work is undertaken in partnerships with other research institutes and universities, at both national and European levels.

Forestry Commission policy

Maximising the utility of data gathered in various monitoring and survey programmes is important. This research programme directly supports the Forestry Commission’s policy of seeking to optimise the use of monitoring information for the forestry sector and wider environmental and land-use stakeholders.


The programme commenced in 2009, and is reviewed every six months. Ongoing work includes:

  • Collating relevant monitoring data across FR in a metadatabase
  • Integrating monitoring activities with the Forestry Commission National Forest Inventory
  • Executing the requirements of the intensive monitoring project
  • Developing a user-friendly interface for forest science researchers.


Helen McKay

Related pages

Useful sites

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Mariella Marzano

Principal Social Scientist