Publications on the educational, health and well-being value of trees and woodlands

We have stopped moving: Tackling physical inactivity – a role for the Public Forest Estate in England?(PDF-9402K)

This briefing note outlines evidence on the role of the Public Forest Estate in helping to tackle physical inactivity. It draws on research into the health benefits of forests and also greenspace and green infrastructure in which trees are often an important or key component. It argues that the Public Forest Estate in England is extremely versatile and has the potential to contribute to cost effective solutions for the health sector targeted at preventing ill health and also in recovery and treatment programmes.

By Liz O’Brien


Active England evaluation reports

The Active England programme aimed to increase community participation in sport and physical activity across England. Forest Research contributed to the monitoring and evaluation of five projects that focused on increasing activity levels in woodlands and greenspace.

There is a report for each individual project, a short summary report that brings together the key findings from each project and a full report that provides an overview and analysis of the research across the five Active England projects:

By Liz O’Brien and Jake Morris.


Cultural value of trees, woods and forests (PDF-1556K)

Final report from study that explored how cultural values are identified, explored and taken into account in forest planning and decision-making processes.

Also: Executive summary (PDF-438K)

By Paul Tabbush.


Estimating visitor and visit numbers to woodlands (PDF-1237K)

Final report that sets out the different methods that have and can be used by forest managers and practitioners to estimate visitor, visit and total numbers of visits to woodlands. This report builds on guidance on visitor monitoring produced by the Forestry Commission Economic and Statistics Group.

By Liz O’Brien and Jake Morris.


Evaluation of the Neroche Landscape Partnership Scheme (PDF-1261K)

Evaluation report that provides a detailed account of how the scheme ran and evidence of the impacts it had on a range of partners, participants and members of the surrounding local communities and that draws out key insights and lessons learnt from the scheme’s governance structure and processes.

By Claudia Carter, Liz O’Brien and Jake Morris.


The Forestry Commission public forest estate in England: Social use, value and expectations (PDF-2654K)

Final report from study to provide evidence of the public value of the Forestry Commission Public Forest Estate in England and establish whether people have different perceptions and expectations of publicly owned forests compared to those in other forms of ownership.

By Claudia Carter, Anna Lawrence, Rebecca Lovell and Liz O’Brien.


The Forestry Commission public forest estate in England: Social use, value and expectations (PDF-206K)

Summary report of study to provide evidence of the public value of the Forestry Commission Public Forest Estate in England and establish whether people have different perceptions and expectations of publicly owned forests compared to those in other forms of ownership.

By Anna Lawrence and Claudia Carter.


Health and well-being (PDF-6483K)

Trees, Woodlands and Natural Spaces

This publication provides a synopses of presentations and workshop discussions from three expert consultations held on "Health and Well-being: Trees, Woodlands and Natural Spaces" in Scotland, England and Wales in 2002.


The importance of trees and woods for people's health and well-being (PDF-738K)

Outlines of publications and project reports.


Lifestyle, identity and young people’s experiences of mountain biking (PDF-1350K)

This PhD research was undertaken linked to the Active England evaluation. The research focused on young people use of Bedgebury Forest for mountain biking.

By Katherine King.

Forestry Commission Research Note 7.


A marvellous opportunity for children to learn (PDF-1527K)

A participatory evaluation of Forest School in England and Wales

By Liz O’Brien and Richard Murray.


New pathways for health and well-being (PDF-262K)

Summary of research to understand and overcome barriers to accessing woodland

By Sue Weldon and Cathy Bailey in collaboration with Liz O’Brien.


New pathways for health and well-being in Scotland (PDF-1876K)

Research to understand and overcome barriers to accessing woodlands

By Sue Weldon and Cathy Bailey in collaboration with Liz O’Brien.


Offenders and nature - Helping people, helping nature (PDF-1228K)

Summary Report on 'Offenders and Nature' Schemes. These involve those serving a sentence in custody or in the community working as volunteers on nature conservation and woodland sites.

By Claudia Carter, with contributions from Judith Hanna (Natural England).


Offenders and nature - Policy into practice (PDF-302K)

Employment for ex-offenders: an innovative approach

By Claudia Carter.


Place-making and communities: A review of concepts, indicators, policy and practice (PDF-923K)

Exploring the UK government (including forestry-related) usage and definitions of terms or concepts related to the social and community benefits that can potentially be realised through accessible provision of green space, including woods and trees. October 2010.

By Amy Stewart.


Place-making and communities: Inventory of social evidence and practical programmes relating to trees, woods and forests and urban/peri-urban regeneration, place-making and place-shaping (PDF-2710K)

Report that identifies key evidence themes and evidence gaps and urban regeneration, place-shaping and making programmes in Great Britain in which trees have played the fundamental role. October 2010.

By Amy Stewart and Liz O’Brien.


A review of the Forest Education Initiative in Britain (PDF-1459K)

This 2011 review looks at the history and development of the Forest Education Initiative, its governance structure, funding procedures and the activities and members of the cluster groups.

By Liz O’Brien and Rebecca Lovell.


Review of research evidence in relation to the role of trees and woods in formal education and learning (PDF-512K)

Final report from study to identify and explore research relating to education and learning outdoors. A particular focus of the review was on learning that takes place in woods as well as learning that focuses on trees and woods.

By Rebecca Lovell and Liz O’Brien and Roz Owen.


Social benefits from the Forestry Commission public forest estate in England: Review of current evidence (PDF-933K)

A review of the Forestry Commission's estate in England as part of a study to show how the estate contributes to society today and how it might sustainably serve society's long-term needs.

By Anna Lawrence, Claudia Carter, Liz O’Brien and Rebecca Lovell.


"Strengthening heart and mind”: Using woodlands to improve mental and physical Well-being

In the United Kingdom, a number of efforts to improve people’s health and well-being focus on the value of trees and woodlands

By Liz O'Brien.

Article from Unasylva - Forests and human health. Issue 224 (Volume 57, 2006/2), a publication of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.


Trees and woodlands (PDF-2825K)

Nature's health service

This publication provides information and evidence supporting the idea that the use and enjoyment of woodlands and green spaces improves people’s overall health and well-being.

By Liz O'Brien.

Forward by Sir Liam Donaldson - Chief Medical Officer for England.

Trees and Woodlands - Nature's health service - Executive summary


Trees, people and the built environment (PDF-4620K)

Proceedings of the Urban Trees Research Conference, April 2011

With some 400 delegates, this was one of the biggest tree conferences ever held in Britain. Hosted by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the event featured leading expert practitioners and research scientists from around the world presenting papers that ‘showcased’ the very latest research and innovative practice.

Forestry Commission Research Report 107.


Urban health and health inequalities and the role of urban forestry in Britain: A review (PDF-2172K)

This literature review (2010) explores urban health issues and health inequalities and identifies the links between trees, woods and forests and health in urban populations. It outlines current gaps in research and identifies potential opportunities for the Forestry Commission in England, Scotland and Wales to focus on health and well-being in urban areas.

By Liz O’Brien, Kathryn Williams (University of Melbourne) and Amy Stewart.


Woods and forests in British society: progress in research and practice (PDF-2066K)

By Bianca Ambrose-Oji and Karen Fancett (Eds.).

Papers presented at the Trees and Forests in British society conference in April 2010.

Forest Research Monograph: 3
ISBN 978-0-85538-828-7

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