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As a Senior Social Scientist in the Social and Economic Research Group, Beth provides leadership on the operational direction of the group and oversees the organisation and management of a suite of research projects. She also carries out social science research that contributes to improving our understanding of social systems and the values, attitudes, behaviours and actions of land managers, publics and stakeholders to inform sustainable forest policy and management decisions.

Beth is a human geographer and interdisciplinary environmental specialist who joined Forest Research in January 2023. She is currently:

– leading a project which explores public values relating to trees outside of woodlands in peri-urban and rural areas;

– leading research exploring community-level response to change in tree cover, with learning for longitudinal research;

– FR lead within the multi-partner ACCESS project (https://greenfutures.exeter.ac.uk/access/), which aims to provide leadership on the social science contribution to tackling and solving a range of environmental problems;
– supporting research which explores farmer values as they relate to trees outside of woodlands.

Previously, Beth worked for Natural England as a social science specialist and farm conservation adviser, as an academic researcher and a community development practitioner with Groundwork.

Beth completed her PhD at Lancaster Environment Centre, which involved interdisciplinary research (human geography & plant-soil ecology) into soil carbon management in upland agricultural systems. Beth was a Commonwealth Scholar and completed her MSc in forest soil ecology at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Beth is an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter. She sits on the York Environmental Sustainability Institute External Advisory Board and is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Environmental Social Science Strategic Advisory Group.

Beth has provided social science evidence and policy advice for a range of environmental policy areas, published for peer-reviewed journals, a book chapter and a range of organisational reports, as well as for specialist media. As a Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology Fellow she synthesized multi-disciplinary evidence on emissions from arable cropping systems.

She is interested in a wide range of subject areas, including working with different forms of knowledge to promote sustainable land management, evidence-led stakeholder engagement, and the benefits obtained from engaging with nature. She is currently co-supervising a PhD research project which aims to understand the ways in which ethnicity and other contextual characteristics influence motivations to visit green and natural spaces, experiences of these spaces, and associated wellbeing benefits https://www.naturalspacesresearch.co.uk/about.html She loves working in multi-discipline teams and is enthusiastic about the contributions truly interdisciplinary working can realise to enabling positive environmental change.

‪Beth F.T. Brockett – ‪Google Scholar

Head shot of FR staff Member Beth Brockett

Beth Brockett

PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)
Senior Social Scientist
Society and environment research group (SERG)

Related Research

Research

Understanding the public value of Trees outside Woodlands: Peri-Urban and Rural (ToWPUR)

This project will gather evidence to better understand the social and cultural value of an understudied part of English treescapes: Trees outside Woodlands in peri-urban and rural areas (ToWPUR). The research will feed into a variety of policy aims relating to the societal benefits and impact of tree-planting and management.

Status current

Research

Mapping the Social Benefits of Woodland Creation and Expansion

This research aims to outline what would be needed and what the benefits would be in establishing a longitudinal research network of new planting sites with communities in different locations to monitor the social benefits, attitudes, actions, motivations and barriers associated with this planting over time.

Status current

Related Publications

Publication

Trees Outside of Woodland: An exploration of social and cultural values

A photo essay based on interviews with 16 arts and humanities practitioners and academics, focusing on their relationship with Trees Outside of Woodland. Key themes that emerge include childhood memories and experiences, emotional connections and the interconnectedness of humans and nature.

Published

Publication

Trees and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

A secondary analysis of data from an online, UK representative survey, in-depth interviews and photo elicitation was used to investigate the terms people use to describe trees and places with trees, the importance of trees to perceptions of naturalness and nature connection, and whether trees were associated with greater wellbeing.

Published

Peer reviewed journal articles

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters:

Hafferty, C., Babelon, I., Berry, B., Brockett, B., Hoggett, J. (in press). ‘Digital tools for participatory environmental decision-making: challenges, opportunities, and future directions’. In: Sherren, K., Thondhlana, G., and Jackson-Smith, D. (eds). Opening Windows: Emerging Perspectives, Practices and Opportunities in Natural Resource Social Sciences. Utah State University Press.

Palmer, A. K., Riley, M., Brockett, B. F. T., Evans, K. L., Jones, L., & Clement, S. (2023). Towards an understanding of quality and inclusivity in human-environment experiences. Geography Compass, e12723. https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12723

Ward, C., Palmer, A. K., Brockett, B. F. T., Costanza, R., Hatfield, J., Kubiszewski, I., Langford, P., Pickett, K., & Willis, C. (2023). Perceptions, preferences and barriers: A qualitative study of greenspace and under-representation in Leeds, UK. People and Nature, 5, 1284–1298. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10507

Shi Xu, George Murrell, Sarah E Golding, Beth FT Brockett, Birgitta Gatersleben, Caroline Scarles, Emma V White, Cheryl Willis, Kayleigh Wyles, 2021. “#Springwatch #WildMorningswithChris: Engaging With Nature via Social Media and Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Lockdown,” Frontiers in Psychology 12: 701769, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.701769.

Jane Mills, Hannah Chiswell, Peter Gaskell, Paul Courtney, Beth FT Brockett, George Cusworth, Matt Lobley, 2021. “Developing Farm-Level Social Indicators for Agri-Environment Schemes: A Focus on the Agents of Change,” Sustainability 13, no. 14: 7820, https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147820.

Beth F. T. Brockett, Alison Browne, Andy Beanland, Mike Whitfield, Nigel Watson, George Alan Blackburn, Richard D Bardgett, 2019. “Guiding Carbon Farming Using Interdisciplinary Mixed Methods Mapping,” People and Nature, April 30, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.24. (Winner of the 2019 British Ecological Society Rachel Carson Prize.)

Alison L Browne, Saska Petrova, and Beth FT Brockett, 2018. “Water-Energy Nexus Vulnerabilities in China,” in Energy Poverty and Vulnerability: A Global Perspective, ed. Neil Simcock, Harriet Thomson, and Saska Petrova, Routledge Explorations in Energy Studies (New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group), 16.

Carly J. Stevens, Beth FT Brockett, et al., “Tackling the Crisis in PhD Supervision through Group Active-Learning,” Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education 1, no. 19 (2016): 4, http://repository.brynmawr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1152&context=tlthe.

Beth F.T. Brockett, Cindy E. Prescott, and Sue J. Grayston, 2012. “Soil Moisture Is the Major Factor Influencing Microbial Community Structure and Enzyme Activities across Seven Biogeoclimatic Zones in Western Canada,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry 44, no. 1 (January): 9–20, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.09.003.

Beth F.T. Brockett and Mark Hassall, 2005. “The Existence of an Allee Effect in Populations of Porcellio scaber (Isopoda: Oniscidea),” European Journal of Soil Biology 41, no. 3–4 (December): 123–27, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejsobi.2005.09.004.

 

Selected Natural England publications – research owner and project lead (peer-reviewed):

Carol Morris, Beth Brockett, and Shannon Green, 2022. “Social Science in the Natural Environment (SSINE): Moving towards Interdisciplinarity – JP045” (Natural  England), http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5337765767282688.

Natural England, 2022. Embedding an evidence-led, best-practice culture of engagement: learning from the evidence (NECR448) http://nepubprod.appspot.com/publication/5365328451469312

Natural England, 2021. Year 1 reporting from the People and Nature Survey https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/the-people-and-nature-survey-for-england-data-and-publications-from-adults-survey-year-1-april-2020-march-2021-official-statistics

Natural England, Defra, Environment Agency, 2020. Scoping study – Evaluating the social impacts affecting AES delivery – LM0478. https://randd.defra.gov.uk/ProjectDetails?ProjectId=20129

 

Theses 

B.F.T. Brockett, 2016. “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Mapping Soil Carbon” (Thesis submitted to Lancaster University in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Lancaster University). https://www.proquest.com/openview/6eff2108706b1ab4ebe6466ffb8e6e2e/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=51922

Beth Brockett, 2008. “Patterns in forest soil microbial community composition across a range of regional climates in Western Canada” (Thesis submitted to the University of British Columbia in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science). Patterns in forest soil microbial community composition across a range of regional climates in Western Canada – UBC Library Open Collections

 

Selected other writing and presentations

Beyond the PhD – Geography as home with Dr Beth Brockett – RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum (rgspostgradforum.org)

Armstrong, A., Brockett, B., Eustice, T., Lorentzon, A., O’Brien, L., Williams, S. (2021) Why Society Needs Nature: Lessons from Research during Covid-19. https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/why-society-needs-nature-lessons-from-research-during-covid-19/

Beth F T Brockett 2021. “Findings from the People and Nature survey” webinar for sweep.ac.uk

Beth F T Brockett, 2020. “Does nature conservation need more social scientists?” Blog post for Relational Thinking. https://relationalthinkingblog.com/2020/04/24/does-nature-conservation-need-more-social-scientists/

Beth F T Brockett, 2019. “Working with different sorts of knowledge to increase the amount of carbon stored in our agricultural soils”. Blog post for Relational Thinking. https://relationalthinkingblog.com/2019/04/30/plain-language-summary-working-with-different-sorts-of-knowledge-to-increase-the-amount-of-carbon-stored-in-our-agricultural-soils/

S Bartel, I Bohnet, B Brockett, A Browne, A Connelly, B Goldstein, 2019. Emergent landscapes: exploring social-ecological interdisciplinarity (conference) 2019. School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=AU2019605107

Beth Brockett, Rose O’Neill, 2018. “What we are doing to better understand why farmers manage for wildlife and the opportunities and challenges involved”. Farmer Cluster Conference, held on 1 November 2018 at the Birmingham & Midland Institute. Brockett-ONeill.pdf (farmerclusters.com)  Conference Presentations – Farmer Clusters

Toomey, A.H., Markusson, N., Adams, E. and Brockett, B., 2015. Inter-and trans-disciplinary research: a critical perspective. GSDR 2015 Brief. Verfügbar unter: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/612558-Inter-%20and%20Trans-disciplinary%20Research%20-%20A%20Critical%20Perspective.pdf

Brockett B. and Wentworth J., 2015. ‘Emissions from Crops’ Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Briefing Note (POSTnote)  https://post.parliament.uk/research-briefings/post-pn-486/  and accompanying Parliamentary launch Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Crops: New POSTnote Launched – British Ecological Society

Brockett B., 2015. ‘How agricultural laughing gas helps global warming get high’. The Conversation  http://tinyurl.com/lwhcsdb

Brockett B. and Netto G., 2013. ‘The Science Behind the Schemes’ NERC Planet Earth article  https://ecosystemsknowledge.net/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2014/2/Science%20behind%20the%20schemes.pdf