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Public Opinion of Forestry – climate change

The Forestry Commission has conducted similar surveys of public attitudes to forestry and forestry-related issues every two years since 1995. The most recent set of separate surveys was conducted in 2017 (in Scotland, Wales, and across the UK as a whole) and 2014 (in Northern Ireland). The full results are available on our website at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/statistics-by-topic/public-opinion-of-forestry/.

Questions were asked to gauge the public's agreement on climate change issues, including on the management of UK forests in response to the threat of climate change (Table 4.4). Some of the public views presented below do not reflect expert opinion.

There were high levels of agreement (respondents stating that they agreed or strongly agreed) with the statements:

  • "A lot more trees should be planted", supported by 84% of the UK public in 2017; and
  • "Different types of trees should be planted that will be more suited to future climates", supported by 76% in 2017.

Conversely, there were much lower levels of agreement with the statements:

  • "No action is needed, let nature take its course", supported by 24% in 2017; and
  • "Trees should not be felled under any circumstances, even if they are replaced", supported by 26%.

Table 4.4 Management of UK forests in response to the threat of climate change

  2009 2011 2013 2015 2017
  percent of respondents who agree or strongly agree
A lot more trees should be planted 92 90 86 80 84
Different types of trees should be planted that will be more suited to future climates 70 74 71 67 76
Trees should not be felled in any circumstances, even if they are replaced 17 21 22 25 26
No action is needed, let nature take its course 16 21 18 22 24

Source: UK Public Opinion of Forestry Surveys.

Notes:

1.  Figures are based on all respondents: weighted totals = 2009 (2,011), 2011 (2,068), 2013 (1,927), 2015 (1,804), 2017 (2,113).

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics.  For further information see the Sources chapter.

 

Additional resources

Sources chapter: UK Forests and Climate Change

Sources chapter: Public Opinion of Forestry

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