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Analysis of the Potential Effects of Various Influences and Interventions on Woodland Management and Creation Decisions - WC0812

The Government's January 2013 Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement ( set out Government's ambitions for increased woodland management and planting rates in England. The Government believes a shared programme, involving Government, the forestry sector and forestry/woodland interest groups, will be necessary to deliver the Statement's objectives. This research is being undertaken by Defra and Forestry Commission England to improve the evidence base available to assist development of this programme.

Only 55% of England's woodlands are under ‘active management’ and a large potential exists to sustainably increase the multiple economic, social and environmental benefits that our forests and woodlands can provide. 100% of England's publicly-owned forest estate is managed, so efforts to increase the area of woodland under active management need to be focused on privately-owned woodlands. England's woodland cover is currently 10%, and previous Forestry Commission research indicates that there is relatively limited suitable public land available for new planting. Therefore, engaging effectively with private and voluntary sector landowners will be essential if the Statement's ambitions are to be met. However, surprisingly little is known about who these private landowners are or what motivates them, for example little information is available on the ownership patterns and owner attitudes for smaller woods. Similarly, there is only limited evidence available on the motivations and attitudes of farmers (who, in practice, are likely to provide much of the land needed for additional woodland creation) towards planting new woodland on their land.

This project seeks to address these evidence gaps by conducting primary research to improve the Government's understanding of how various policy levers interact with woodland owners' and farmers' willingness to manage and plant trees. Developing a greater understanding of landowner attitudes and motivations should assist the Government in establishing the most effective means of influencing behaviour and promoting change, and so help improve the cost effectiveness of policy interventions.

This research project aims to develop two segmentation models, which divide woodland owners/managers and farmers into distinct groups based on shared characteristics. These models will provide important context to help ensure that policy is targeted effectively. The analysis will be grounded in primary research and include a review of the effectiveness of current forestry interventions, in order to identify phenomena, structures or relationships which influence behaviours.

Specifically the objectives of the project are:

1) To agree two segmentation models (i.e. for woodland management and for woodland creation) using existing research and conducting primary research to inform their design. The models will provide core data on the various types of woodland owner/manager and farmer (a methodology to identify woodland owners and farmers will be made available to the successful tenderer).
2) To review the effectiveness of a defined series of current interventions on the segmentation groups against the goals of more woodland management and/or more woodland creation.
3) To assess a range of potential types of future intervention, considering the effectiveness, scale, and value for money of each potential intervention for each segment of landowner/manager or farmer.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Volume Four - Woodland creation segmentation   (5156k)
• FRP - Final Report : Volume Three - Woodland management segmentation   (9522k)
• LIT - Literature Review : Volume Two - Evidence base review   (2019k)
• SUM - Summary Report : Volume One - Summary for Policy-makers   (1738k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2014

Cost: £212,938
Contractor / Funded Organisations
U R S Scott Wilson Ltd
Farm Woodlands              
Rural Amenities