Monitoring and evaluating the contribution of trees, woods and forests to quality of life

An exciting new interdisciplinary research project

News from Forest Research: April 2009

Families in woodland open space

This project is developing a new monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the contribution of woodland to people’s quality of life. The work supports Forestry Commission England’s commitment to delivering the Communities and Places element of the Government’s Strategy for England’s Trees, Woods and Forests. The research is being carried out at three sites across England.

Novel features of the research include:

  • Visitor and catchment socio-demographic profiles
  • Mapping accessibility
  • Social distribution of use, non-use and quality-of-life benefits
  • Analysis of site management records.

Initial data has already produced interesting results. In particular, detailed profiles are emerging from an analysis of the socio-demographic make-up of visitors and catchment populations in order to assess how truly representative a site’s visitor profile is. ocusing on gender, age, household income, disability and ethnicity, the data demonstrates the extent of (under-)representation amongst certain groups of visitors at each site.

Future efforts will focus on an activities and events database. As well as coordinating activities, the database will collate feedback from attendees to enable demographic profiling. It is envisaged that this database will become a useful tool at other sites.

The project’s first annual report is due in April 2009. These results will be used for the purposes of corporate performance reporting, and as a way of helping make management decisions for woodland sites.

For further information, contact Kieron Doick or Jake Morris.


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This and other news stories can be found in the April 2009 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.