Sheena tells us about the semi-structured interviews she is undertaking with local stakeholders and policy actors

A core qualitative research element of the STAND project is undertaking semi-structured values-based interviews with local stakeholders who live and work in the upland environments of the Elenydd and the North Pennines. Policy actor interviews with the public sector, farmers unions and third sector working in treescape expansion policy formulation are also a critical element to understand issues and challenges arising. There is an integral link between tree expansion and other biodiversity, climate change and agriculture related policies and strategies and the details and issues behind the scale dependent collaborative advantage of policy implementation.

Elan Valley, near Rhayader, Powys (ID 226006854 ©Beataaldridge |

We are in the process of conducting a total of fifteen local stakeholder values interviews across the two case study landscapes which include tenant farmer networks, grazing associations, estate owners, land managers, rangers and conservation trusts.

The local stakeholder interview evaluation process will adopt frame analysis to assess stakeholder opinions surrounding opportunities and good practice of tree expansion as well as challenges, issues, barriers, and conflicts in the two upland landscapes. Frame analysis provides a tool to map and explore opinions, beliefs, preferences, and actions of the different stakeholders whilst exploring the context of their frames and actions.

Interviews with senior policy actors including national and regional representatives working at a high level of tree expansion policy formulation and implementation, are of key importance to assess scale dependent collaborative advantage (SDCA). SDCA brings a dynamic and important assessment of the technical capacity of organisations to undertake different tree expansion functions at different scales. The assessment of functional specialisation is also important to evaluate what policy functions are performed across different scales in different ways. This is correlated with an analysis of the enabling policies and initiatives constructed at higher levels to facilitate complementary tree expansion management across scale.

Fifteen interviews are being conducted with public sector organisations including UK and devolved government departments and statutory agencies, local authorities and farming unions. Additionally private commercial forestry trade organisations are being interviewed to understand the economic value of the forestry sector and current issues and challenges.