Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain, a researcher with the University’s Department of Geography & Planning, has been awarded a UK Treescapes Fellowship to identify and translate knowledge that will help the UK overcome barriers to treescape expansion.
Tree cover in the UK is amongst the lowest in Europe, and expanding the UK’s treescapes will require millions of seeds from climate-resilient trees. Supplying these seeds is a major challenge, with risks associated with inadequate or unreliable native seed quality, and the introduction of pests and pathogens via imported material.
Dr Hacket-Pain’s fellowship will facilitate knowledge exchange with Austria’s Future Forest Seeds (FORSEE), a major interdisciplinary project focused on securing seed supply for forest expansion.
He will initially focus on two UK oak species (Quercus petraea and Quercus robur) and work alongside the Future Trees Trust, Action Oak and the Woodland Trust to identify and translate knowledge to support treescape expansion. Three main challenges have been identified as shared priorities for the project: the monitoring and forecasting of forest seed supply, the management of UK seed orchards, and engaging private forest owners in the UK’s commercial seed supply chain.
Dr Hacket-Pain’s UK Treescapes fellowship is funded by DEFRA and is one of nine supported through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future of UK Treescapes Programme, an initiative that aims to enhance the extent, quality and adaptive capacity of woodlands and forests for the benefits of the environment and society.
He said: “It is exciting to work on a project that takes our scientific discoveries through to the planning and management of UK forest and woodland expansion, linking scientists, forest managers and policy-makers”.
Professor Clive Potter, Co-Ambassador for the Future of UK Treescapes said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Fellows to the Future Treescapes programme. They will join a growing network of researchers investigating the many different dimensions of woodland expansion in the UK. Treescape fellowships are designed to give their recipients an opportunity to spend up to 12 months working on topics they are passionate about. We are excited to see the results of their work.”
The Future of UK Treescapes Programme is a £15.6 million programme designed to improve environmental, socio-economic and cultural understandings of the functions and services provided by UK treescapes. The Fellowships are supported with a £340,000 investment from the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UKRI and Defra.