The results from the Forest We Want (FWW) show significant levels of agreement on the various questions posed. Such perceived high levels of agreement pose their own dangers and underplay the amount of work that still needs to be done.
This Seeing the Wood for the Trees (SWFT) report highlights some of the caveats of the study and proposes what can and should reasonably form the basis of ongoing communication in the next phase. It also highlights some of the further work that is required to confirm that a Biosphere Reserve would have the necessary support from those living and working in the District of the Forest of Dean.
FWW is a very early-stage marketing study that put some initial ideas to the potential audience to understand what concepts might have traction, what concerns there might be based upon the information provided through an arts-based campaign/prior knowledge and what questions might arise. Its intent was to inform not to provide firm conclusions. As such it should always be referred to as a survey. It is categorically not a consultation, which has significant other meanings and will come later in the process.
FEP is focused on enabling practical improvements. Following this summary are a list of future actions which fall out from the analysis of the data and its limitations. Some are specific and others more general. All can be discussed and implemented or discarded as those taking the project forward see fit.
The Forest We Want survey broadly achieved its aims and objectives of beginning the process of informing the District about the concept of Biosphere Reserves through the sharing of Arts Council funded artefacts. It stimulated ongoing discussion and galvanised a sense of place upon which the next stages can grow.
The Wood for the Trees report focuses on the 491 respondents who lived in the District of the Forest of Dean and provided significantly complete surveys. The latter means they attempted all questions, but may not have provided free form comments.
In simple terms the vast majority of the response was from individuals below the A40. Given the consistency of the response, this may not change the conclusions of the survey, but does highlight the work that needs to be done to fully engage all; if there is to be a Biosphere Reserve based on the District of the Forest of Dean.