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Forest / Plant Health Spatial Scientist

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Posted: Posted 2 weeks ago

A Forest / Plant Health Spatial Scientist role, a two-year research post at Forest Research (FR), to help develop a novel horizon-scanning method for identifying potential threats to UK forests.

The Tree Health team provides applied research, advice, and management support on established and invasive tree pests and diseases to a wide range of stakeholders and is committed to protecting and promoting forest health. Within this team, we are looking to appoint a two-year research post to help develop a novel horizon-scanning method for identifying potential threats to UK forests, within the context of ever-increasing pressures from non-native pests & diseases, and a changing climate.

Horizon scanning for key threats to principal tree species

This project will use UK data and data made available by partner organisations in Canada, the USA and Europe to develop a horizon scanning method to identify and map likely future threats to British-grown trees. Key biotic and abiotic factors impacting the growth and survival of tree species within their native and planted distribution will be determined (including pests and pathogens, climatic stress, poor soil conditions, and provenance type). This will enable better predictions on risks to UK-grown trees now and under future conditions, the resilience of different provenances to be assessed, and targeted surveillance and research activities to be identified.

Various types of data analysis will be employed, such as climate-matching techniques, analysis of provenance trials, pest/pathogen distribution modelling, and modelled impacts of climate change. This project will be conducted in association with the Canadian Forest Service in particular, capitalising upon expertise and knowledge of tree health professionals working within the native distribution of two key conifers (Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir).

This Forest / Plant Health Spatial Scientist role can be based at the Northern Research Station, Roslin EH25 9SY or at Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH. Please be aware that this role can only be worked in the UK and not overseas. See further details about our locations via this link.

Want to work at the cutting edge of environmental science?  Passionate about making a difference and playing your part in tackling the climate and nature crisis?  Forest Research is all about giving top quality evidence and advice to policymakers and practitioners to make a positive impact on the ground. Internationally recognised, we need people who have the skills and passion to work on excellent science and provide practical solutions for nature.

We’re small enough that your voice is heard, yet large enough, as part of the Forestry Commission, that we have everything on hand to get the job done, as well as a variety of career pathways.  Our staff are dedicated to their work and sharing it with others to bring positive change for our planet.  And you will find us a flexible and inclusive employer, so you can have a work life balance that is tailor-made to your circumstances. So, whether it’s climate or carbon, pests or pathogens, behaviour or biodiversity that interests you, you can be assured of a warm welcome to the team. To find out further information, visit

For further information about the role, and to apply, please click ‘Apply Now’ below.