This project is led by Forest Research and is funded through the Future Proofing Plant Health programme. The research is exploring what policy options may incentivise or support land managers to act for tree health and increase the resilience of their woodlands and trees. Conducted as action research, the project is helping to develop and support an evolving co-design process to meet high level policy objectives linked with the Future Farming and Countryside Programme, and to achieving the objectives set out in Defra’s Tree Health Resilience Strategy.
The research objectives have varied through the different phases of the co-design process. During the early scoping and initial policy option co-design work (2018-2021) the main objectives were to understand:
- What would incentivise owners and managers to treat or fell in response to pests and diseases, and to restock for diversity and resilience after a pest/disease outbreak?
- How can the supply chain could better provide diverse and good quality material for resilient treescapes?
- How can networks, advice and the provision of appropriate information better support the actions of land managers in response to pests and diseases?
During the Tree Health Pilot evaluation phase (2021-2024) collaborative and user focused research is assessing:
- Which kinds of land manager are taking up the Tree Health Pilot offer and why, and the potential for scaling uptake amongst specific groups in the future
- Whether the elements within the package can be more effectively tailored to support the needs of different land managers according to their different needs by holding type and specific tree heath issue
- Whether the outcomes of the Pilot scheme are those expected, and what design changes might be needed to facilitate this
- Key learnings about the benefits and challenges of the co-design process.