Applying Q Methodology to Understand Private Woodland Owners' Perspectives on Public Good Provision in English Woodlands

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"The role and nature of woodland and forest ownership is changing significantly in England. Environmental conservation and enhancement, the provision of recreation and amenity and the use of biofuels to mitigate climate change are being increasingly emphasized in new policy agendas. In light of the growing emphasis on multi-functional forestry, it is important to understand how woodland owners themselves perceive their role in delivering these social and environmental benefits. Recent research suggests that the availability of grants related to the provision of public access is unlikely to attract much interest from woodland owners, but incentives for longer-term management might be more in line with owners' goals. This paper describes a study that has applied Q Methodology to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of of private woodland owners in three case study areas in England: Cornwall, the Lake District and the High Weald AONB, regarding their willingness or ability to deliver public goods. The Q analysis identified four distinct perspectives of woodland ownership and management, which can be described as: the Hobby Conservationist; the Self-Interested Owner; the Custodian and the Multifunctional Owner. The implications of the findings for forest policy and state incentive schemes are discussed."



methodology, property rights, public--private, woodlands, IASC