In his review ‘Communicating the benefits of urban trees’, published in ‘Arboricultural Journal’ in 2016, Andy Moffat identified that there was very little evidence to provide a modern understanding of urban dwellers’ interests in trees where they live. Soon afterwards, a Public Opinion of Forestry survey conducted on behalf of the Forestry Commission (in 2017) suggested that there is significant ambivalence, and even dislike of urban trees, in some quarters. However, the nature of the survey didn’t allow for an effective analysis of motivations and attitudes. Andy argued in his paper that the need for such an understanding “has never been greater” and subsequently developed a research proposal to fill this important knowledge gap.
Financial support for the project has taken some time to capture, but hard work by colleagues in Forest Research, coupled with professional support from Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) and its members has brought a range of stakeholders together to develop and fund the project. This will be led by colleagues in the Social and Economic Research Group (SERG) in Forest Research. Andy Moffat has been appointed to act as a Critical Friend in the project. The project involves both qualitative and quantitative research, and outputs will be published next year.