Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The diversity of people’s relationships with biodiversity should inform forest restoration and creation

Austen, Gail E., Dallimer, Martin, Irvine, Katherine N., Fisher, Jessica C., Fish, Robert D., Davies, Zoe G. (2023) The diversity of people’s relationships with biodiversity should inform forest restoration and creation. Conservation Letters, 16 (1). Article Number e12930. E-ISSN 1755-263X. (doi:10.1111/conl.12930) (KAR id:97963)


Forest restoration/creation are a policy focus worldwide, with initiatives pledging to plant billions of trees. While there is an emphasis on providing ‘the right tree in the right place’, we need to understand for whom the trees are right. Such social dimensions are frequently overlooked, despite being critical to successful forest restoration/creation. We used Q-methodology to examine what forest biodiversity attributes (e.g. functions, behaviors, colors, smells) people (N=194) relate to and how in Britain. We found that shared public perspectives on biodiversity attributes are multifaceted, influenced by personal experience and vary across taxa. This heterogeneity highlights the importance of gaining a richer understanding of human-nature relationships, as restoration/creation initiatives need deliver biodiverse forests to accommodate the plurality of preferences brought to bear upon them. Based on our findings, emphasizing biodiversity in forest restoration/creation should contribute to greater use of, comfort in, and meaningful engagement with, forests in the future by a wider set of publics.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/conl.12930
Projects: RELATE
Uncontrolled keywords: climate change mitigation, ecosystem services, forest creation, forest restoration, human wellbeing, human-nature interactions, reforestation, Q-methodology, tree planting, woodland
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: European Research Council (
Depositing User: Gail Austen
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2022 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2023 15:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.