Alliance to strengthen forestry research in Wales

Two organisations with long records of expertise in forestry education and research will be collaborating more closely with the move of Forest Research’s Welsh office to Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, which is the home of forestry in the University.

Forest Research is the research agency of the Forestry Commission. Its Head in Wales, Tom Jenkins, leads a team of researchers based at a number of locations across Wales, all of whom work directly with colleagues based at Forest Research’s other centres in England and Scotland as well as in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Government policymakers and academic and research institutions across Wales.  

Commenting on the move Tom said:

“This is a very positive development which coincides with recent organisational changes that have strengthened the science, skills and expertise within Forest Research.  Our two organisations have complementary strengths.  Forest Research has internationally-recognised expertise across a wide range of subject areas, including tree and forest health.  This area of our research portfolio has direct relevance to the economy of Wales, particularly with respect to recently-emerging tree diseases such as Phytophthora, Chalara die-back of ash and acute oak decline.  In addition to our work on tree pests and diseases, Forest Research also has active research programmes covering three other main areas: forest management, climate change and ecosystem services.  Bangor University’s greatest expertise is in forest ecology, resilience, soils, biodiversity conservation and restoration, agroforestry and international forestry.  The two organisations together have joint strength in ecosystem services, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and forest hydrology.”

John Healey, Professor of Forest Sciences at Bangor, University heads a team of 11 academic staff specialising in forestry and agroforestry. John commented:

“There are only a small number of institutions in the UK with research expertise relevant to forestry, so it is important that we work closely together.  I am delighted with the success of our recent collaborations with Forest Research, including joint projects on the modelling of tree regeneration in continuous cover forestry; the bacteria causing acute oak decline; and modelling the economics of tree diseases, which pose such a large threat to woodlands in Britain.”

Forest Research will continue to work closely with other universities across Wales but both parties are optimistic that the move will foster a further increase in collaboration between the two organisations.

Publication date: 19 May 2016