Between 2013 and 2015 we carried out a significant amount of research into the community and social enterprise woodland sectors.
We were initially commissioned by Forest Research to try and establish the extent of community woodland management of local-authority owned woodlands in England. Using a mixture of surveys, interviews and workshops we heard from almost 50% of England’s councils and generated interesting data about the state of council owned woodlands as well as the ways in which communities were involved in managing them. You can see that report here.
We were then asked, this time by the Forestry Commission to try and establish a data baseline of how many woodland social enterprises existed in England. Again we used surveys and interviews, and you can see the report of that here. This work was followed by similar investigations in Scotland and Wales.
All three reports looked at the general characteristics of woodland social enterprises, as well as the impact they were having, and what kind of support they needed.
These social enterprise reports were important in making the case for the funding of the woodland social enterprise sector, and we were pleased to become partners in the Woodland Social Enterprise network and the Making Local Woods work programme.