Annular Further – Britain – Forestry, Forest, Wood, Trees

University, and other state funded researchpart 1

In this Annular Further section you can find information about recent and ongoing research across the main universities and  related academic centres.

This first section of Annular Further’s two-part British research overview currently covers Scotland and Wales. English and Northern Irish sections will be added shortly.

Both the Scottish and Welsh sections cover all the main university and related research hubs across the respective countries.


The University of Aberdeen

School of Biological Sciences

Due to interdepartmental restructuring the university’s forestry department was closed in 2015, with a number of courses integrated into related subjects, course modules and research groups. Within the school one small research group, Tropical and Temperate Forest Ecology is engaged in related research.

Tropical and Temperate Forest Ecology

The research group, headed up by Professor David Burslem and Professor Michelle Pinard, is focused on factors influencing the distribution and – where applicable – the abundance of species, including interactions between flora and fauna, as well as the consequences for biodiversity of these interactions. Research includes reversing bio-degradation of the ecosystems and using ecosystems services approaches   to help alleviate poverty.

Projects and research – here are references for three examples of the research groups recent output:

Active restoration accelerates the carbon recovery of human-modified tropical forests (2020) Burslem, D. Philipson, C. Cutler, M. et al. Science, 369 (6505), pp. 838-841.

The Forest Observation System, building a global reference dataset for remote sensing of forest biomass (2019) Burslem, D. as contributor to mass observation project,Nature Data Centre.

The Tropical managed Forests Observatory: a research network addressing the future of tropical logged forests (2014) Pinard, M. Sist, P. Rutishauser, E. Applied Vegetative Science 18(1).

School of Biology, St Andrews University

The School of Biology

Involved in forest, woodland and related ecological research, although within a much wider biological sciences, and specifically statistical biology research contexts, for instance as a junior partner in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, it led research on Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change.

The Centre for Biological Diversity

Within the School of Biology, this research group is mostly involved in forest related research, including the above research. It generally relates to the centre’s interdisciplinary statistical biology role.

An earlier iteration of the Borneo forestation research, the
accompanying description reads “False colour composite SPOT HRV
satellite image of the Danum Valley area. Note the dark area towards
the right/middle of the image – this is an area of seedling mortality
caused by the last big ENSO event in 1996″ –
Image from CECHR/
Dept of Geography and Environmental Sciences blog

Glen Feshie in the North West Grampions, Scotland
Photo – Dundee Hydrology blog, part of the Wildland rewilding project

Sabah Valley, part of the Borneo site under research by professor
Mark Cutler and colleagues – Photo Mongabay/Rhett Butler
the link is to feature on logging in region.)

Department of Geography and the Environmental Science, University of Dundee

Department of Geography and Environmental Science

With a focus on both social and physical geography, the department’s research agenda includes interdisciplinary forestry related projects which draw on both fields of expertise.

Research is within broader contexts, such as glacier retreat or flood impacts, hydrological dynamics, rewilding in Scotland, long-term international monitoring and research of forest recovery and restoration in Borneo’s logged forests, or the impact on biodiversity of smallholder agroforestry in African countries. GIS and other satellite mapping and monitoring technologies are also a research theme, including forest mapping.

The majority of these projects were previously led by the Centre of Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) until it closed in 2015. An informative blog repository is here.

Current and recent research:

The impact of across-slope forest strips on hillslope subsurface hydrological dynamics (2020) Black, A. MacDonald, A. Heal, K. et al. Journal of Hydrology, 581.

Impact of missing precipitation values on hydrological model output: a case study from the Eddleston Water catchment, Scotland (2020) Black, A. Ruman, S. Krpec, P. Rusnek, P. et al. Acta Geophysica, 68, pp. 565-576.

Environmental vulnerability and resilience: Social differentiation in shortand longterm flood impacts (2020) Black, A.  Werrity, A. Ball, T. and Houston, D. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Three decades of post-logging tree community recovery in naturally regenerating and actively restored dipterocarp forest in Borneo (2021) Banin, L. Burslem, D. Cutler, M. Hayward, R. et al. Forest Ecology and Management, 488.

Changes in leaf functional traits of rainforest canopy trees associated with an El Nino event in Borneo (2019) Cutler, M. Nunes, M. Khoury, S. Burslem, D. et al. Environmental Research Letters, 14(8) pp. 1-13.

Carbon dynamics, net primary productivity and humanappropriated net primary productivity across a forest –cocoa farm landscape in West Africa (2019) Morel, A. Adu Sasu, M. Adu-Bredu, S. et al Global Change Biology, 25(8).

Combining Contemporary and Paleoecological Perspectives for Estimating Forest Resilience, (2019) Morel, A. and Nogue, S. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, Online Summer/Autumn Intact Forests focus edition

Ongoing PhD:

Using remote sensing and GIS to model the impact of deforestation on ecosystem services in southern Asia (2019 – ongoing) Jamal Hassan, PhD thesis based at University of Dundee).

Forest mapping tech used by the Sustainable Forests and Landscapes research group
Photo – SF&L/Geosciences/University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

One of Scotland’s largest universities, and the sixth oldest in the UK, the University of Edinburgh is home to departments across the arts and sciences. Within several science schools there are research groups focused on forests and woodlands in a variety of contexts. Schools include the following:

School of Geosciences

Within the school, the Biosphere, and Geography and Lived Environment research groups include a forest and woodland focus.

Biosphere research group

Within the Biosphere research group the two most relevant research fields are: Sustainable Forests and Landscapes, and Ecosystems Science and Organismal Ecology. In addition, the Earth Observation and Spatial Analysis group are responsible for several forest mapping research related projects and the research group also hosts the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes.

Sustainable Forests and Landscapes

The research includes a focus on ecosystem services.


Can forest planting help us manipulate catchment sub-surface runoff pathways and contribute to natural flood management (NFM) strategies? Scroll down (2020) Peskett, L. and Heal, K.

Ecosystems Science and Organismal Ecology

Research:Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change (2020) Daskalova, G. Myers-Smith, I. Bjorkman, G. et al. Science, 368

The Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes

An interdisciplinary research centre, engaged in research on sustainable landscape management, particularly forest landscapes. The centre works with partners to deliver research projects. The Centre’s blog is here.


Landscapes as Carbon Sinks – in partnership with the ECCI, see below, and the European Climate-KIC – and drawing together a diverse set of partners, the CSFL is delivering new thinking on designing and turning landscapes, including wooded landscapes, into carbon sinks. A brochure overview can be found here.

Research paper:     

Wood in construction, a policy and data summary (2020) Kerkvliet, Dr. R. SAGES report

Geography and the Lived Environment Institute

Out of the Institute’s four overlapping research clusters it is the Environmental Change and Societal Transitions cluster which is most closely aligned to forest and woodlands related research.

ACES- Ecosystems Services and Well-Being in Mozambique research
Photo – Geograo

The Miombo woodlands – Photo Miombo Network

CarboMap satellite mapping – Image – CarboMap/ECCI

Environmental Change and Societal Transitions

The cluster is itself divided into three core research areas: Socio-ecological systems, Environmental risk and adaptation, and Transitions to a low carbon society, from which Socio-ecological systems is currently the most active with regard to forest and wood related research.

Socio-ecological systems  

Current projects:

SEOSAW (A Social-Ecological Observatory for Southern African Woodlands) – long term research into the savannah forests of southern Africa, aimed at a clearer understanding of the effects of global change on Southern African woodlands. Collection and organising of data across 12 S African countries is analysed and synthesized in an online woodland plot network. SEOSAW is collaborative and open-source, in partnership with the West African Miombo Network and is funded by NERC.

Research: A network to understand the changing socio‐ecology of the southern African woodlands (SEOSAW): Challenges, benefits, and methods (2021) The SEOSAW Partnership Plants People Planet Vol 3, 3

Completed project:

Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) collaborative research on development well-being, which ended in 2019. The programme included various forest ecosystems services related research, including partnering in ACES, research into well-being in the context of the Mozambican Woodlands.


ACES: livelihoods and land use change in Mozambique

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI)

While a separate organisation, the ECCI is housed within and works closely with the University of Edinburgh on major climate change and zero carbon policy, strategy, and research. Several Scottish organisations fall under the ECCI umbrella, such as the Carbon Xchange, and Highlands & Islands Enterprise Development Agency, as well as business partners and a variety of start-ups. Forestry, wood, and timber sectors are part of the ECCI’s research landscape, although at present there are no dedicated wood related organisations within the centre.

CarboMap – one of the ECCI’s start-ups and provides expertise and support for forest mapping projects at a UK and international level.

Loch Lomond view to Rowardenn, site of Glasgow University’s SCENE Field Station research facility
Photo – Wikipedia/Steve Partridge CC BY-SA 2.0

University of Glasgow

Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment -(SCENE)

SCENE, the university’s biology department field station at Rowardennan, within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, provides a context in which forest ecology and related research is undertaken within broader programmes and projects. SCENE is situated within a large oak dominated broadleaf woodland (scroll down for woodland section) and provides facilities and a forest context to study in right on its doorstep.

SCENE is primarily focused on aquatic and terrestrial ecological research, i.e., evolutionary biology, eco-physiology, disease ecology, and environmental change, with the nearby Loch Lomond being a principal habitat for aquatic research projects. It is within these parameters that some of SCENE’s research engages with forest and woodland related issues, although not as a core theme. SCENE is both the site and lead researcher for the UK Lake Ecological Observatory Network (UKLEON).

The centre is housed in two relatively new buildings, the phase 1 timber and stone showcase building, designed by Page\Park Architects (2007), and SCENE 2, also designed by Page\Park and later completed by novated architects WellwoodLeslie Architects (2013). The SCENE campus buildings complement the studio’s earlier Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Headquarters.

See the Annular Archive feature on the National Park HQ project.

Glasgow Caledonian University

School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment (CEBE)

While at the margins of its principal research themes, there is a small amount of wood related research within pockets of the school.

This includes work within the Research Centre for Built Environment and Asset Management (BEAM) and two of the school’s research groups, Nature Based Solutions and Eco Engineering and Sustainable Materials and Structures.

For research related to BEAM and the Sustainable Materials and Structures research group, see the architectural, engineering, and materials section here.

Research groups:

Nature Based Solutions and Eco Engineering – research is primarily on water related issues, although its nature-based solutions perspective includes trees and woodlands as strategies of flood mitigation and water health.

Operandum (Open-Air Laboratories for Nature-Based Solutions to Manage hydro-meteo risks) – the group is part of the pan-European Operandum research network, with a project in Catterline Bay, close to Stonehaven on Scotland’s northeast coast, working to implement a nature-based agenda at a community and participatory level to help manage coastal erosion, and reduce pollution and flood risks. This includes installing willow fascines, a live crib wall, including various wood materials, and brush layers, again with natural materials. The project is outlined on Operandum’s StoryMap pages here.

Scots Pine, at the heart of the Caledonian Forest. University of Stirling research has led to a clearer understanding
of the trees and their recovery after drought – Photo – Ian Fitzpatrick Wikipedia/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

WrEN researchers in the field (or forest) Photo: Kevin Watts

University of Stirling

Biological and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Natural Sciences)

One of the principal Scottish academic research centres for forest and woodland related research, operating within the faculty’s wider environmental science research agenda. The faculty is currently led by Professor Alistair Jump (as acting Dean.) Research is wide-ranging and often internationally focused, working with partners, including UK and international environmental science organisations from the European Environment Agency to the Gabonese National Parks Service. One example of a current research programme on the consequences of drought intensification across Europe on forest ecology and, specifically, the impact on beech trees, which Professor Jump leads, is currently ongoing – see further below – in collaboration with other UK and German academic partners.

There are a number of research groups, the most relevant regarding forest ecology and other woodland related research are the WrEN project and STICS – see further below. Professor Jump also hosts a personal research website at:

More generally the University of Stirling is one of the main centres of conservation activity in the country, with several conservation organisations found on the campus.


Woodland Creation & Ecological Networks (the WrEN project)– a long term conservation and ecological restoration network founded and co-ordinated by Professor Kirsty Park, Dr Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor andDr Kevin Watts at Forest Research. Park leads projects and research on biodiversity conservation primarily in woodlands, applying an ecological networks approach to the long-term research. According to the website WrEN have thus far worked on and surveyed wildlife and habitats on 106 secondary and 27 ancient woodland sites.


Stirling Conservation Science STICS – the network is involved in a spectrum of conservation related issues, including human-non-human species conflict and food security issues, alongside aquatic and animal related conservation. STICS is led by Professor Nils Bunnefeld, and its principal research project is ConFooBio, engaging with conflicts between food security and biodiversity conservation.

While hardly a dominant theme STICS includes several researchers whose work and interests connect directly to forest and wood-based concerns, often related to and straddling conservation conflicts. These include Dr Sarobidy Rakotonarivo focused on conservation conflict, Dr Isabel Jones working on landscape-scale tropical tree communities and forest fragmentation in the Amazon, and Dr Diana Valero Lopez whose sustainability and rural development work in the Scottish Highlands crosses over into well-being in forest dependent communities.

Discoloured beech crowns growing on thin soil in Northern Switzerland, summer 2018 – Photo WSL

Current and recent projects:

ForeSight: Predicting and monitoring drought-linked forest growth decline across Europe – three year interdisciplinary forest ecology research project into the consequences of drought and temperature change drawing on earth observation, dendroecology and process-based monitoring. The research focuses on the beech tree as an indicator species, applying satellite and other data sourced from the European Beech Tree Network, with data from over 10,000 trees across 25 countries. Research partners include Forest Research, and Durham, Dresden and Munich Universities (2019-2022.) A parallel project is assessing individual and local scale forest vulnerability to mortality from the 2019 extreme drought in central Europe.  Other research from Prof. Jump’s team is investigating the long-term productivity impacts of drought on UK forestry species and how we foster greater resilience in UK planted forests as our climate changes.

Long term trends in Central African Forest phenology – analysis of long-term data sets across the Gabon National Parks Agency, to assess impact of climate change on forest communities and wildlife. (2019-2020)

PERS-RELICT-CLIM Relict Populations in a changing climate – research to advance understanding of rear edge population dynamics, with a focus on the fragmented beech tree distribution at the watershed between the Mediterranean and temperate biomes. The research combines molecular, modelling and field approaches to inform the projects approach, including at the field level beech species size structure, demography and canopy decline along with physiological traits. (2016-2018)

Drought induced effects on tree species demography and distribution – with changes in forest structure brought on by climate change and other factors intensifying, this research investigated if and how tree diversity can slow the effects of climate on forests. By understanding more clearly the impact of climate change, in relation to prolonged droughts, the research sought to predict changes of coniferous forests across large climatic gradients. (2014-2017)

STICS PhD projectEilidh McNab, a current PhD researcher investigating Scottish upland biodiversity related to broad-leaved and mixed woods in the Trossachs and Perthshire, specifically birds, invertebrates, bats and plants in the context of woodland creation on open moorland and other upland areas, resulting from Scottish Government policy requiring increases in woodland cover.

WrEN preparing the design of a study – Photo WrEN

WrEN and professor Kirsty Park led projects

Restoration of functioning ecological networks in woodland habitats – given overwhelming woodland cover comprises non-native plantation and a small amount of degraded older mixed woodlands, research includes the success of otherwise  of recent biodiverse and conservation informed woodland creation.

Restoring Resilient Ecosystems (RestREco) – an examination of what is needed for the effective restoration of an ecosystem, with a focus on sites, and the properties which emerge when an ecosystem is considered as a whole, rather than based on the presence and amount of indicator species. The results should provide insights into landscape restoration and increasing their resilience. WrEN’s role in a larger multi-partner four year programme is to compare natural woodland regeneration to plantation growth, across a series of contrasting restoration ages (2020-2024)

Research into whether and how to make plantation forests work for timber and wildlife (scroll down) – WrEN are involved in several projects building on research into plantation forests providing greater biodiversity and habitats for native plants, animals, and fungi, and how these forests are used by certain species, including pine marten, bats, and other priority species.

Parc national de la Lopé, Gabon – Photo – Vincent vacuin/Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Current and recent research papers:

Life after recovery: Increased resolution of forest resilience assessment sheds new light on post‐drought compensatory growth and recovery dynamics (2021) Ovenden, T. Perks, M. Clarke, T-K. Mencuccini. M. and Jump, A. Journal of Ecology, 1.

Onward but not always upward: individualistic elevational shifts of tree species in subtropical montane forests (2021) O’Sullivan, K. Ruiz-Benito, P. Chen, J-C. and Jump, A. EcoGraphy, 44(1).

Monitoring Mega-Crown Leaf Turnover from Space (2020) Abernethy, K. Bush, E. Mitchard, T. and Silva, F.  Remote Sensing.

Montane forest expansion at high elevations drives rapid reduction in non-forest area, despite no change in mean forest elevation. (2020) Morley, P. Donoghue, D. Chen, J-C. and Jump, A. Journal of Biogeography, 47.

Refining predictions of population decline at species’ rear edges (2019)Vilà-Cabrera, A. Premoli A. and Jump A. Global Change Biology, 25.

Integrating remote sensing and demography for more efficient and effective assessment of changing mountain forest distribution (2018) Morley, P. Donoghue, D. Chen, J-C. and Jump, A. Ecological Informatics, 43.

Climate and successionalrelated changes in functional composition of European forests are strongly driven by tree mortality (2017) Vila-Cabrera, A. Greenwood, S. Wirth, C. Ruiz-Benito, P. Zavela, M. Jump A. et al. Global Change Biology, 23

STICS related research:

Woody lianas increase in dominance and maintain compositional integrity across an Amazonian dam-induced fragmented landscape (2017) Jones, L. Peres, C. Benchimol, M. and Dent, D.  PLoS ONE, 12.

Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence on the True Local Welfare Costs of Forest Conservation in Madagascar: Are Discrete Choice Experiments a Valid ex ante Tool? (2017) Rakotonarivo, S. Jacobsen, B. Larsen, J. Jones P. et al. World Development. 94

WrEN research papers:

Regional land-use and local management create scale-dependent ‘landscapes of fear’ for a common woodland bird. (2020) Park, K. Whytock, R. Fuentes-Montemayor, E. Watts, K. et al. Landscape Ecology, 35.

Ecological time lags and the journey towards conservation success (2020) Watts, K. Whytock, R. Park, K. et al. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 4.

Soil organic matter stabilization and carbon-cycling enzyme activity are affected by land management. (2020) Błonska E. Lasota J. Vasconcelos da Silva G, R. Vanguelova E. Ashwood F. Tibbett M. Watts K. Lukac M. Annals of Forest Research.

Small mammal responses to long‐term large‐scale woodland creation: the influence of local and landscape‐level attributes (2019) Fuentes-Montemayor, E. Ferryman, M. Watts, M. and Park, K. Ecological Applications, 30(2).

Woodland restoration on agricultural land: long-term impacts on soil quality (2019) Ashwood F. Watts K. Park K. Fuentes-Montemayor E. Benham S & Vanguelova E, I.  Restoration Ecology 27

Further WrEN research papers can be found here.

Ben Nevis with small-scale, lower-level mountain forests – Photo – Anna Kirkpatrick

University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

The University of the Highland and Islands is, befitting the dispersed, large, and rural North of Scotland, a distributed university, with campuses across thirteen sites. Providing tertiary, undergraduate, and post-graduate courses, various research bodies are also part of the composition of the multi-campus university. Operating close to UHI’s hub, the Inverness site, the Scottish School of Forestry is also home to the Forestry and Conservation research group, while Perth hosts the Centre for Mountain Studies.

The Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College (CMS)

The broad research agenda of the centre encompasses sustainable mountain development and characterising mountains, biodiversity and protected areas, global and climate change, upland management, and ecosystems services in mountainous regions.

Within this palette of research themes, upland and mountain forests, and related subjects are a modest, if clearly present, theme. A considerable amount of the research focus also bears tangentially or indirectly on forest related matters.

Current projects are not directly engaged with upland forest related research. Likewise, much recent research is primarily on broader themes, however, indirectly there is considerable overlap and relevance. Wild land and ‘wildness’ in Scotland, for instance, a research theme from 2012 within the biodiversity and protected areas research theme lends itself to upland forests, as does a 2018 review of community land ownership and its expansion.

Mountain Forests in a Changing World  – the CMS contributed to this international project which was part of the International Year of Forests in 2011. The resulting report is here (pdf).

Elm wood rings – Photo Forest and Conservation Group/UHI

The Scottish School of Forestry

Scottish School of Forestry  

Part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), the Scottish School of Forestry includes a 25 ha forest site, and a base within the UHI Inverness campus. The school is led by Amanda Bryan and offers a cross-section of courses within the Scottish educational system, including HNC, HND, SCQF, and BSc Forest management undergraduate qualifications. The school is also home to the post-graduate and research focused Forestry and Conservation Group.

Forestry and Conservation Group

With three core research fields; timber technology, forest biodiversity and ecology, and forests and people, for UHI Inverness based research group is involved in projects at the regional, national, and international levels. The director is Dr Melanie Smith.

Projects include:

Elm in the Highlands: Current status and potential management responses to Dutch elm disease – ongoing collaborative study by  Euan Bowditch and Elspeth Macdonald with Scottish Forestry Commission. Investigation into the distribution, structure and condition of the Scottish elm population, with a particular focus on the Highlands and Islands, drawing in the tree species’ economic, landscape, and cultural value in the regional high North Scottish context. The research outline can be found here.

Walking the land: Examining an ecosystem approach for private estates through the lens of woodland expansion (2016 – ongoing) Euan Bowditch Scottish School of Forestry and University of Edinburgh.

Improving the mechanical properties and performance of Sitka spruce timber through selection and breeding (PhD ongoing) Elspeth Macdonald, Forest Research, and University of Aberdeen. Research outline can be found here and scroll down.

Understanding social innovation for the well-being of forest-dependent communities: A preliminary theoretical framework (2018) Valero, D. Kluvánková, T. Brnkaľáková, S. et al, Forest Policy and Economics, 97.


Henfaes research centre Agroforestry site – Photo – Agroforestry

Bangor University

Bangor University is home to various forest and woodland research departments, research units and centres, at the heart of which is the School of the Natural Sciences.

The School of Natural Sciences

Includes Britain’s leading Forest Sciences faculty, alongside related departments,  Geography,Agriculture and Conservation. Known as Forestry@Bangor it is the ‘longest standing Forestry department in the UK’, and originally opened in 1904.

Within the faculty, a broad swathe of related themes, including forest management, forest regeneration, biodiversity conservation, climate change, biomass energy, agroforestry, invasive species, forest pathology, bioenergy production, impacts of intensive biomass harvesting, wood combustion and ash recycling, sustainable community development, and further topics comprise the principal research concerns

Other departments, such as Geography, Conservation, and Food Security also crossover into forest science related research, for example, Food Security includes a research focus on resource use efficiency, which has encompassed biochar and wood ash effect on soils, and ecosystems services from forests. The school is also responsible for the two nearby research facilities; Henfaes Research Centre, home also to the Sir William Roberts Centre for Sustainable Land Use, and the Treborth Botanical Garden, see further below.

The department also works with the university’s Biocomposites Centre, again see below.


BangorDIVERSE: Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Function – long-term research into forest diversity and its relationship to the ecological functioning and sustainability across a network of trial forest plots. With 92 plots the trial network is looking at the benefits provided by the ecosystem services and biodiversity resilience, amongst other factors in the forest, compared to all grass and non-wooded ecosystems. The site covers 2.36 hectares with between 80 and 160 trees, and is in Abergwngregyn, in the Aber Valley. The project is part of the international global Tree Diversity Network and is led by Dr Andy Smith

Multi-Land: Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Ecosystem Service Resilience in Multifunctional Landscapes –ongoing experimental research of mixed multi-functional agricultural landscapes, where hedgerows and pasture trees interact with pastural use and soil conditions. Multi-Land is focused on understanding how these ecosystems can aid flood resilience, carbon sequestration, and improve soil health.

Tropical forestry participatory biodiversity assessment – as one of the UK centres of the European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN), researchers from within Bangor’s Forest Science faculty contribute to ETFRN’s objective of ensuring European research also helps conserve and sustainably maintain tropical forest resources and research. Specific research – from 2015/16 – demonstrated how degradation associated with logging roads can be reduced and potentially returned to pre-logging conditions through regrowth of forest vegetation after the roads become disused.

Multi-Land: Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Ecosystem Service Resilience in Multifunctional Landscapes

Airborne LIDAR imaging of an Ecosystem Vertical Profile – Image – AMAZECO

Other research projects:

Quintus – Quinquennial (half-decadal) carbon and nutrient dynamics in temperate forests: Implications for carbon sequestration in a high carbon dioxide world (2019-2024) – a research project led by the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research into CO2 fertilisation, which results from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere accelerating photosynthesis, further resulting in greater tree growth. Bangor’s Forest Sciences are one of multiple UK and international partners supporting the research and are responsible for the nutrient manipulation related research section.

FUTURE OAK: Engineering the oak microbiome to future-proof an arboreal icon  – this four-year project funded by UK Research & Innovation investigates the health of oak trees in Britain. Investigations centres on microbiomes, the microbial world found in trees which help maintain their health, in the context of Acute Oak Disease and other threats to the oak species. A brief overview is given here (2020-2023).

AMAZECO – An Ecosystem Structure EBV product covering the Amazon combining satellite and airborne LIDAR – objectives include realisation of Ecosystem Vertical Profiles (EVP’s) using both satellite and LIDAR sensors, of sessile biological entities in an ecosystem (2020-2022).

Research papers:

The Eclosion of Forest and Tree Health Stakeholdership (2021) Dandy, N. Environmental Values.

Resource availability and disturbance shape maximum tree height across the Amazon (2021) Valbuena, R., Gorgens, E., Nunes, M. and Jackson, T. Global Change Biology.

Host–microbiota–insect interactions drive emergent virulence in a complex tree disease (2020) Doonan, J., Broberg, M., Denman, S. and MacDonald, J. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287.

Survival of Brenneria goodwinii and Gibbsiella quercinecans, associated with acute oak decline, in rainwater and forest soil (2020) Pettifor, B., Doonan, J., Denman, S. and MacDonald, J. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 42(1).

Explaining Forest Management: Behaviour or Practice? (2020) Dandy, N. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 114.

Woodland Social Enterprise: innovation and resilience in the forest sector (2020) Dandy, N. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 112.

Global patterns of forest loss across IUCN categories of protected areas (2020) Rosa, I., Leberger, R., Guerra, C., et al. Biological Conservation, 241.

Linking urban agroforestry and child nutrition: A case study from Kampala, Uganda. Keynote (2019) Mollee, E., MacDonald, M., and Kehlenbeck, K. 4th World Congress on Agroforestry, Montpelier, France.

A new era in forest restoration monitoring (2019) Valbuena, R., Almeida, D., Stark, D. and Broadbent, E. Restoration Ecology.

Polyculture affects biomass production of component species but not total standing biomass and soil carbon stocks in a temperate forest plantation (2019) Ahmed, I., Smith, A. and Godbold, D. Annals of Forest Science.

Henfaes research centre from the air – Photo – Screengrab of Henfaes research centre promotional video/Henfaes Research Centre

Treborth native woodland forest – Photo – Charles Saumarez Smith

The Carneddau mixed use and mixed land cover woodlands, Snowdonia – Photo – LoveAdventure

Henfaes experimental farm and other resources

Henfaes Research Centre – while primarily involved in crop and livestock, the 49 ha experimental farm includes a 17 ha silvopastoral agroforestry experiment, and other plantation forest experiments. An additional centre for teaching, facilities also include glass houses, laboratories, and a rhizotron (a below ground lab for research of soil and root systems). An overview of its facilties and research is outlined here.

Sir William Roberts Centre for Sustainable Land Use – the centre operates as a connecting hub for interdisciplinary land-centred sustainability research, cutting across and joining up disciplines within Bangor University.

Research under the auspices of the centre includes:

Emerging spaces for natural woodland growth in Britain’s crowded future landscapes –PhD research on alternative approaches to wood afforestation, with a focus on regeneration of mixed land cover and use of the Carneddau Mountains in Snowdonia, N Wales.

Treborth Botanic Garden

Covering 18 hectares close to the University, 16 ha of which comprise a natural hardwood forest, the garden also features an arboretum, six glasshouses, the Two Dragons Chinese Garden, and a managed orchard.

The natural woodland forest consists of a mixed ash and oak and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Ancient woodland, mixed conifers planted in the 1950s, mixed oak, ash and sycamore woodland, and areas of high canopy mature oak, with birch, ash and willow, plus other trees. An in-depth description of the garden woodland is here.

The Biocomposites Centre

One of the few UK academic centres focused on bio-based materials and technologies. The research focus includes materials which can be used in construction-related products, although the majority of biocomposite materials are developed for industrial applications, or as biomaterials. These Forest products and Composites pages provide introductory overviews. The Centre also hosts the Biorefining Tech Transfer Centre.

Beacon (Wales)

The commercial spin-off from the Biorefining Tech Transfer Centre has assisted the commercial development of various research projects, including with Clifford Jones Timber, Plant Fibre Technology and MDF Recovery. All these companies  have been developing timber and bio-based materials for the construction sector.


Coming soon.