WILDLIFE and attractive scenery are the most important factors when choosing to visit woodland in the Yorkshire and Humber area, says a survey.

And two-thirds of adults (66 %) would like to see more woodland in the region.

The findings come in the Public Opinion of Forestry 2003: England Report, published by the Forestry Commission.

It assesses public attitudes to forestry and forestry-related issues in England.

The top four reasons that people in Yorkshire and the Humber gave for supporting forestry with public money were:

To provide places for wildlife to live in; to provide places to visit and walk in; to help prevent the greenhouse effect and global warming; and to improve the countryside landscape.

The report also said that 60% of people thought the UK's woodland area was decreasing.

But, through the work of the Forestry Commission, it has increased in this region by more than 6,600 hectares in the last 20 years.

But the region still has a long way to go, with an average woodland cover of only 6% compared with an England average of 8% and a UK average of 12%.

However, 87% of people in the region recognised the work undertaken by the Forestry Commission in improving woodland habitats for wildlife.

The commission recognises that ancient woodland provides a rich and essential habitat for rare and endangered species.

Also, ancient woodland is fundamentally important in achieving the commission's objectives. The commission is developing ambitious programmes for restoring ancient woodland on its own estate, the report said.

Meanwhile, 88% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber highlighted the fact that the Forestry Commission promoted public access within its woodlands.

Around one-third of the region's respondents were also aware of the leading woodland certification logo, which demonstrates that the timber has come from a sustainably managed resource.

Also, 30% of adults would like to be consulted about plans for creating, managing or using woodlands.