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Exploring the linkages between multifunctional forestry goals and the legacy of spruce plantations in Scotland

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Publication details

JournalCanadian journal of forest research-Revue canadienne de recherche forestiere
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Feb 2016
DatePublished (current) - 17 Feb 2016
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1247-1254
Original languageEnglish


This paper explores the ecosystem services associated with woodlands, as they are viewed by individuals in Scotland, with the idea to reconcile objectives for multifunctionality with the legacy of past forestry systems that were not designed with multifunctionality in mind. Research follows a semi-qualitative route and applies the Q method to identify and explain a range of attitudes among the general public and forestry-associated stakeholders regarding the functional future of forestry in Scotland. Four distinctive groups of attitudes were identified and key factors influencing the attitudinal diversity were explained. Despite the uncovered attitudinal heterogeneity, all groups of attitudes have strong emphasis on native woodland regeneration and on improvement of aesthetic values of woodlands but differ concerning afforestation. An improved understanding of what people think provided an indication of their recognition of ecosystem services types and the trade-offs between these, opportunities available, and factors that can hamper forestry development (e.g., concerning the aspiration of increasing Scotland’s forest cover to 25%). Findings suggest that the productivists’ position (for which the economic objectives are important) remains strong in Scotland. Results (compared with those in several other countries) demonstrate comparability between public and stakeholder perspectives in support of the multifunctional forestry, and this has distinct policy relevance and implications for decision-making.

    Research areas

  • ecosystem services, woodlands, stakeholders, attitudinal diversity, Q method

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