Exploring the social and cultural values of trees and woodlands in England: A new composite measure

Alison Dyke, Liz O'Brien, Stephen McConnachie, Clare Hall, Jack Forster, Vadim Saraev, Glyn Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Existing research on the social and cultural (S&C) values of treescapes tends to be limited in scope, for example to recreation, aesthetic or health values, and much is primarily qualitative, which provides rich detail but does not lend itself easily to incorporation into decision-making. Having a way to quantify the range of S&C values associated with treescapes is important if decision-makers are to effectively take these into account. This issue is particularly important currently with ambitious plans to increase tree cover alongside growing threats to treescapes from climate change and tree pests and diseases.
This paper outlines the development of a new composite measure to quantify the S&C values associated with treescapes. The development of the measure resulted in a set of 19 statements across six categories of S&C value.
We present results from using the measure in a survey with a representative sample of 5000 people across England together with the results of a factor analysis, which suggests a way to simplify the measure into five statements.
We examine the measure through the lens of relational values and suggest that a majority of the values in our measure are relational.
Policy implications. The composite measure can be used by decision-makers looking to develop their evidence base regarding the value of treescapes in their area, or for exploring the impact of tree pests and diseases. It has already been used by more than one local authority in England. While data collection was limited to England, we suggest that the measure is applicable across a wider range of countries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalPeople and Nature
Early online date29 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2024

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© 2024 Crown copyright and HighDef Aerial Surveying and Fera Science Ltd and The Authors.

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