Skip to main content
Contact Us

This collaborative project with Sylva Foundation and myForest users explores new mechanisms to improve knowledge exchange between forestry scientists and managers of private woodlands. The aim is to support understanding of change in these woodlands and help build woodland resilience by allowing these owners and managers to become ‘stewardship scientists’.

The project has two linked aims:

1) to explore if the exchange of information and knowledge between researchers and managers of private woodlands can be increased to help improve woodland resilience;

2) to assess how the sharing of information, data, and additional measurements by woodland  managers, engaged as ‘stewardship scientists’, could help understand woodland changes and help researchers provide more tailored information for managers about climate change and pest and disease risks.

Research objectives

Forest Research tree health, adaptation and resilience researchers are collaborating with Sylva Foundation’s forestry team and its web developers to assess:

1) the potential for, and best way to establish, a community of stewardship scientists that could share site-specific information and measurement data with researchers through a ‘Forest Lab’ extension to myForest;

2) the potential of a ‘Forest Lab’ extension to support essential information exchange between woodland managers and scientists as a ‘knowledge into action’ mechanism, helping with understanding changes in woodlands and their management

Our Involvement

Forest Research and Sylva Foundation are exploring the potential of stewardship scientists to improve information exchange and collaboration between scientists and woodland managers. The users of Sylva Foundation’s myForest platform are a valuable network of owners and managers of private woodlands who can provide a very important knowledge base for scientists.

myForest users were surveyed about sharing their existing woodland management information with scientists. We  explored with them what information they most want, the possibility of collecting more data about their woodland, and willingness to use a Forest Lab extension to myForest to collaborate with scientists.

Following positive feedback from myForest users and a successful testing phase with volunteers, Forest Lab was launched in November 2023 with three live projects covering resilience, tree growth and wildfire.

The stewardship scientists concept and their role involves sharing data with FR scientists to enhance the information provided on climate change, and pest and disease risks, species suitability and adaptation measures, and will help woodland owners interpret guidance and apply it at site level.

We  are also piloting the use of innovative monitoring equipment for selected project participants to enhance data collection and examine how such a collaboration could help our understanding of woodland changes.

A case study is available featuring a stewardship scientist who shares his experience of participating in the Forest Lab tree growth project.

A Project Advisory Group comprising forestry policy representatives from across the UK has been formed to help shape the direction of the project and build on achievements.

Project Partners

FR are partnering with Sylva Foundation, the originators and developers of the myForest suite of woodland management and creation web tools.



Funding & partners
  • This project is funded for 3 years (2022-2025) under the Defra Future Proofing Plant Health programme. Forest Research are partnering with the Sylva Foundation.