Assessing public and stakeholder attitudes to Pine Martens

Pine martenSummary

Forest Research is undertaking attitudinal research with stakeholders and the public to understand levels of awareness about pine marten ecology, and perspectives around a potential re-introduction.  The findings will be used as part of the consultation process and to aid the development of locally appropriate engagement campaigns.

There is a growing interest in the re-introduction to suitable locations of native woodland and forest species such as the pine marten.  The pine marten is of particular interest because research suggests that it may have some impact on populations of grey squirrels, a major forestry pest.  The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is working with partners including the Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission to assess the feasibility of re-introducing pine martens into the Forest of Dean.

Research objectives

The general objective is to:

provide evidence that informs the development of the communication and engagement strategy and supports the social feasibility assessment of the Forest of Dean pine marten reintroduction feasibility project

This will be achieved by completing:

i. A stakeholder mapping exercise will list individuals and organisations with specific interests in Pine Marten reintroduction, and summarise what those interests are.

ii. Semi structured interviews with 20 stakeholders that will:

  • Assess awareness of pine martens amongst particular interest groups
  • Explore positive and negative attitudes to the pine marten and reasons for this
  • Discuss the feasibility of mitigation measures
  • Identify areas of specific concern and how far these have been addressed by the feasibility study
  • Evaluate the level of support and areas of major concern that remain

iii. An on-street survey with up to 500 members of the public in the Forest of Dean area that will:

  • Explore public attitudes about pine martens coming back to the Forest of Dean
  • Evaluate the level of support and areas of major concern

iv. Assisting with the development and interpretation of an on-line survey aimed at individuals and businesses managing game and poultry concerns.

Results

The research is on-going.

A full report of the results are expected to be published on the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s project webpage in February/March 2018.

Preliminary insights from the research can be seen in the Steering Board meeting minutes on the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s project webpage.

Status

Start date: April 2017
End date: March 2018

Contact

Dr Bianca Ambrose-Oji

Related Products/Services

The social researchers at Forest Research offer public attitudes consultancy services to a wide range of customers working in the forestry, land-based and conservation management sector

Funders and partners

This project is a contracted service for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are the project managers of the Forest of Dean pine marten reintroduction feasibility study. The Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission are partners. The Woodland Trust and Forest Holidays are supporting the project.