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Forestry Banner Social and Economic Research Services 1

The Society and Environment Research Group along with our economist colleagues provide a range of social and economic research services to the forestry and environment sectors including:

  • Advice on the design and conduct of social and economic research
  • Research project design and management
  • Advice on social and economic issues in forestry and the wider environment
  • Advice on evaluating forestry, environment and health interventions
  • Evaluation of social and economic programmes.

Our philosophy and approach

We carry out research to develop a better understanding of the ways in which trees and woodlands can benefit society and how we make decisions about their creation, management and use.

Our research is grounded in and contributing to theory, and applying and developing a range of approaches and using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.

We follow research ethical standards and practices to ensure the principles of integrity and quality, enabling participation, informed consent, confidentiality and data protection, avoiding harm, independence and impartiality.

Our research programmes include individual, community and society level perspectives of addressing public, private and cooperative land use and management issues. We carry out projects with/for the Forestry Commission in England and its equivalents in Scotland and Wales as well as other national and international collaborators.

Social and economic research partners

The Society and Environment Research Group works in partnership with researchers and policy-makers in other government departments, universities and non-government organisations specialising in both qualitative and quantitative Social and Economic Science research methods. We also work with a variety of land management practitioners and local communities.

In recent times we have worked closely with a wide range of organisations:

Forestry Commission England and its equivalent in Scotland, Sport England, The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, The Royal Parks, The Environment Agency, The Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, Central Scotland Green Network, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, United States Department of Agriculture.


  • Carrying out a wide range of applied research with a long term focus on 1) land managers (private, public, community) and their attitudes, motivations, values and decision making, and 2) the wellbeing benefits of engaging with trees, woods and forests. Other research includes the social dimensions of tree pests and disease, social dimensions of human-wildlife interactions, governance of people, trees and woods, evaluation and impact appraisal, urban forestry, payments for ecosystem services, marginal abatement costs curves for UK forestry.
  • Participation in national and international expert groups and networks
  • Production of a wide range of accessible reports, articles, summaries and academic peer-reviewed papers
  • Organisation of conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Presentations at a wide range of national and international meetings and conferences.

Related resources

Our recent research and publications

Tools to engage the public in forestry

Statement of research ethics