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“You can’t plant new woodlands here, the tourists will stop coming”. A case-story of the connection between woodlands, landscape and nature-based recreation in upland England

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

  • Sara Vangerschov Iversen
  • Naomi van der Velden, Centre for Wildlife Conservation, National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria, United Kingdom
  • Ian Convery, Centre for Wildlife Conservation, National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria, United Kingdom
Nature-based recreational tourism (NBRT) is increasing in upland regions and provides an important revenue to rural areas but relies on the aesthetic appearance of the landscape, cultural heritage and local perspectives. Woodlands are an important part of the solution to the climate and biodiversity crises. This raises emotive and polarised arguments for and against increasing woodland cover. We carried out a survey of NBRT, using photovisualisation of different woodland scenarios in an upland landscape in the UK. We investigated tourist preferences for woodland levels, estimated the economic value of tourism, and assessed the likely impact on tourist visitor patterns should woodland cover increase. A qualitative Q-methodology investigation of local stakeholder perspectives elucidated both what such changes may entail to their local area and cultural identity, and the underlying values/emotions that influence opinions. The study offers a deeper understanding of this complex topic and shows that NBRT generates a substantial income to the area and visitor numbers will not decrease with up to a 75% increase in woodland cover. Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches identifies key concerns and conflicts, and offers insights to address and/or alleviate concerns by appealing to both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Nature-based Tourism Development
Publication statusSubmitted - 2022

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