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How much volunteering goes on in Scottish and Welsh forests?


Many people volunteer to improve their local environments through the conservation and maintenance of local natural spaces. Through workshops and interviews, Forest Research determined what activities count as volunteering and estimated the extent of the volunteer contributions to public forests in Scotland and Wales.

Key findings

  • Volunteering involves a diverse range of people and groups involved in varied activities
  • Voluntary work leads to a broad range of tangible benefits for all (participants, the environment and organisations)
  • It is difficult to match local capacity for volunteering with national strategies and organisational policies
  • Forest managers need better support on how to work with volunteers, including training, guidance and help with collecting data on the extent and type of volunteering in the public forest estate

The project developed a conceptual framework for thinking about and gathering monitoring and evaluation data on volunteering.



Funders and partners

Commissioned and funded by the Forestry Commission.


The work was completed in March 2011.


Liz O’Brien

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Liz O'Brien

Principal Social Scientist