Skip to main content
Contact Us

There have been a number of changes of nomenclature and location during the 50 years of tree improvement within the Forestry Commission and Forest Research:

  • Bush Nursery, Roslin 1956-96
  • Newton Nursery, Elgin 1963-96
  • Fort Augustus 1971-77
  • Grizedale, Lake District 1951-71
  • Westonbirt Arboretum, Glos. 1965-88
  • Shobdon, Herefordshire 1985-96

Research branch name

The Genetics Section of the Forestry Commission Research Division was established at Alice Holt in 1948.

In 1973, all research sections were renamed ‘branch’ and the section became Genetics Branch.

In 1988, following a transfer of staff from the former Physiology Branch responsible for research into flower induction and micropropagation techniques, and having inherited work on provenance research from Silviculture (North) Branch, the branch was renamed Tree Improvement Branch (TIB).

In 2004 a further re-organisation saw this work was subsumed within the (then) newly established Forest Management Division and now (2009) in the Centre for Forest Resources and Management.

In these pages the name in use during the period being described is used.


All staff were originally located at Alice Holt.

In 1959 a project leader post was established in Edinburgh and other staff were subsequently appointed to work there; Head of Section was located in Edinburgh from 1963.

A new Northern Research Station (NRS) was opened on part of the former Bush Nursery in 1970 bringing the majority of staff together on this site.

All staff transferred from Alice Holt to NRS in 1971. A few staff leading broadleaved species improvement returned to Alice Holt between 1988 and 1994.


The branch has also maintained a number of outstations. Some of these also housed staff from Silviculture (North) Branch, but the dates cover the period during which Genetics Branch/TIB staff were present. Outstations ceased to fall under direct branch control in 1996.

Forest sites

Nearly all experimental field work has been carried out in Forestry Commission forests. Throughout these pages, the forest name in use at the time at which field work was established has been used. Nearly all of these names are no longer in use and many sites may no longer be part of the Forestry Commission estate. A bracketed name therefore follows any forest name in the text. This is the name of the current Forest Enterprise Forest District into which the forest now falls.

Tree improvement
In this section
Tree improvement