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As a Senior social scientist in the Society and Environment Research Group, Mike oversees the collection and interpretation of data on perceptions, attitudes and behaviours to help inform forest policy and management decisions.

Mike joined Forest Research in September 2015. His qualifications include an ecology-focussed BSc in Geography and Environmental Management, an MSc in Rural Development and Resource Management, and a PhD in National Park Management and Planning. Prior to joining FR, Mike worked in North America conducting research into the effectiveness of the Canadian Model Forest Program, and on adoption of conservation practices among agricultural producers in the US Midwest.

Mike uses mixed-method approaches to engage stakeholders and elicit knowledge and perceptions so as to understand and overcome complex social-environmental challenges. His research interests include:

  • Human dimensions of wildlife management: perceptions of species as ‘pests’, acceptability of management and control options, social feasibility for species reintroduction, and motivations and barriers for conservation volunteers.
  • Land use change, particularly woodland creation: drivers and barriers, scenario development and testing, public acceptability, preferences for ecosystem services.
  • Tree health: design and assessment of strategies to detect, prevent and manage for pests and diseases, social acceptability of management strategies, biosecurity considerations for the horticultural sector and large-scale tree planting schemes.


  • IUFRO Division 6: Social Dimensions of Forests and Forestry (deputy coordinator of group 6.05: Conflict in Forest Management).
  • Member of the British Ecological Society
Senior Social Scientist
Society and environment research group (SERG)


Northern Research Station

Bush Estate



Related Research


Public Perceptions on the Reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles

A study exploring perceptions of the white-tailed eagle reintroduced to the Isle of Wight and the Solent, and comparing these perceptions to those recorded prior to the eagles’ reintroduction.

Status completed
Identifying Opportunities for Woodland Creation in Central Scotland

This research aims to assist those responsible for woodland creation in the Central Scotland Green Network area in identifying landowners and locations which offer the ‘best bets’ for new tree planting. In addition, the research seeks to inform on how communication and outreach can be tailored so as to be more effective.

Attitudes to Woodland Expansion in Southern Scotland

A review of the methods available for eliciting local attitudes to woodland expansion (or other land use change), and findings from an attitudinal study in Southern Scotland.

Red Squirrels United

Red Squirrels United brings together partners from across the UK to deliver red squirrel conservation. As part of this effort, Forest Research is undertaking a public attitudinal survey to understand levels of awareness of squirrel conservation issues and attitudes towards management methods.

Other Research

Global threats from Phytophthora spp. (PHYTO-THREATS) – Feasibility assessment for an accreditation scheme involving consultation with nursery managers, consumers and other stakeholders.

Valuing and governing forest ecosystem services – Mechanisms for delivering forest ecosystem services and benefits.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Selected Publications

Dunn, M., Scheffler, W., & Dila, C. (2023). Tree Health Interventions: Design and Deployment of Biosecurity Outreach Materials. Forest Research.

Dunn, M. (2022). Public Perceptions on the Reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles to the Isle of Wight and the Solent. Report for Forestry England. Forest Research.

Marzano, M., Dunn, M., & Green, S. (2021) Perceptions of Biosecurity Based Accreditation in the Plant Trade: A UK Example. Forests, 12(12), 1741.

Dunn, M., Ambrose-Oji, B., & O’Brien, L. (2021). Delivery of Ecosystem Services by Community Woodland Groups and Their Networks. Forests, 12(12), 1640.

Green, S., Cooke, D., Dunn, M., Barwell, L., Purse, B., Chapman, D., Valatin, G., Schlenzig, A., Barbrook, J., Pettitt, T., Price, C., Perez-Sierra, A., Frederickson-Matika, D., Pritchard, L., Thorpe, P., Cock, P., Randall, E., Keillor, B., Marzano, M. (2021). PHYTO-THREATS: Addressing threats to UK forests and woodlands from Phytophthora; identifying risks of spread in trade and methods for mitigation. Forests, 12(12), 1617.

Dunn, M., Marzano, M.,Finger, A. (2021). Assessment of Plant Biosecurity Risks to Scotland from Large-Scale Tree Plantings For Environmental Benefits: Project Final Report. PHC2019/06. Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Plant Health (PHC).

Dunn, M., Marzano, M., & Forster, J. (2021). The red zone: Attitudes towards squirrels and their management where it matters most. Biological Conservation, 253, 108869.

Dunn, M., Edwards, D. & Harden-Scott V. (2020). Opportunities for Woodland Creation in the Central Scotland Green Network Area. Workshop Findings and Engagement Action Plan. Report for Scottish Forestry.

Occhibove, F., Chapman, D.S., Mastin, A., Parnell, S., Agstner, B., Mato-Amboage, R., Jones, G., Dunn, M., Pollard, C.R., Robinson, J.S. and Marzano, M. (2020) Eco-epidemiological uncertainties of emerging plant diseases: the challenge of predicting Xylella fastidiosa dynamics in novel environments. Phytopathology, (ja).

Dunn, M., Baudet, M. & Marzano, M. (2020). Volunteer Experiences in Red Squirrel Conservation. Report for the Red Squirrels United Project.

Dunn, M., Sing, L., Clarke, T. & Moseley D. (2020). Attitudes Towards Landscape Benefits and Woodland Creation in Southern Scotland. Survey Findings Summary Report. Report for Scottish Forestry.

Dunn, M., Marzano, M. & Forster, J. (2020). Buying better biosecurity: plant buying behaviour and the implications for an accreditation scheme in the horticultural sector. Plants, People, Planet. 2(3), 259-268.

Church, S.P., Babin, N., Bentlage, B., Dunn, M., Ulrich-Schad, J.D., Ranjan, P., Magner, J., McLellan, E., Stephan, S., Tomer, M. & Prokopy, L.S. (2019). The Beargrass story: utilizing social science to evaluate and learn from the “watershed approach”. Journal of Contemporary Water Resources and Education, (167), 78-96.

Church, S. P., Dunn, M., & Prokopy, L.S. (2019). Benefits to Qualitative Data Quality with Multiple Coders: Two Case Studies in Multi-coder Data Analysis. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 34(1), 2.

Dunn, M., Moseley, D. & Sing, L. (2019). Exploring Opportunities for New Woodlands at the Landscape Level: Towards a formal method for South Scotland and beyond. Report for Forestry Commission Scotland.

Ambrose-Oji, B., Dunn, M. & Atkinson, M. (2018). Pine martens in the Forest of Dean: Stakeholder and public attitudes. Forest Research report to Pine Marten Reintroduction Feasibility Project, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Coleford. 47pp.

Singh, A., McGowan, B., O’Donnell, M., Overstreet, B., Ulrich-Schad, J., Dunn, M., Klotz, H. & Prokopy, L.S. (2018). The influence of demonstration sites and field days on adoption of conservation practices. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 73(3), 276-283.

Dunn, M., Marzano, M., Gill, R. & Forster, J. (2018). Public attitudes towards ‘pest’ management: perceptions on squirrel management strategies in the UK. Biological Conservation, 222, 52-63.

Church, S. P., Dunn, M., Babin, N., Mase, A. S., Haigh, T. & Prokopy, L. S. (2017). Do advisors perceive climate change as an agricultural risk? An in-depth examination of Midwestern US Ag advisors’ views on drought, climate change, and risk management. Agriculture and Human Values, 1-17.

Church, S.P., Haigh, T., Widhalm, M., de Jalon, S.G., Babin, N., Carlton, J.S., Dunn, M., Fagan, K., Knutson, C.L. & Prokopy, L.S. (2016). Agricultural trade publications and the 2012 Midwestern U.S. drought: A missed opportunity for climate risk communication. Climate Risk Management, 15, 45-60.

Parkins, J. R., Dunn, M., Reed, M. G. & Sinclair, A. J. (2016). Forest governance as neoliberal strategy: A comparative case study of the Model Forest Program in Canada. Journal of Rural Studies, 45, 270-278.

Moseley, D., Dunn, M., Ensor, J., Synes, N., Travis, J., Palmer, S., Brown, C. (2016) Agricultural Biomass Burning and Forestry Fire Policy: Assessing Policy Development, Implementation and Influence on Practice, Behaviour and Land-use Change. In: Earth Observation & Modelling Agri-Tech to Understand Chinese Agricultural & Forest Fires in Relation to Management Practice & Climate Drivers, Final project report to Newton Agri-Tech.. Centre for Ecosystems, Society and Biosecurity, Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin, UK.

Dunn, M., Mullendore, N., de Jalon, S. G. & Prokopy, L. S. (2016). The Role of County Surveyors and County Drainage Boards in Addressing Water Quality. Environmental Management, 1-13.

Dunn, M., Ulrich-schad, J. D., Prokopy, L. S., Myers, R. L., Watts, C. R. & Scanlon, K. (2016). Perceptions and use of cover crops among early adopters: Findings from a national survey. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(1), 29–40.

Prokopy, L.S., Carlton, J.S., Arbuckle Jr, J.G., Haigh, T., Lemos, M.C., Mase, A.S., Babin, N., Dunn, M., Andresen, J., Angel, J. & Hart, C. (2015). Extension′s role in disseminating information about climate change to agricultural stakeholders in the United States. Climatic Change, 130(2), 261–272.