Research groups and teams

Climate change

The Climate Change Research Group works to improve understanding of: the impact of climate change on forests and forestry; what role forestry can have in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and climate change; and how forestry can adapt to reduce the impact of climate change and to benefit from any opportunities. The research is across the spectrum from more fundamental measurements, through developing methods and tools, undertaking practical action and demonstration, and providing advice and evidence to underpin policy. We have many external collaborations in the UK and Europe.


The team is in charge of communicating Forest Research science to the wider forestry sector, government departments and the public. We liaise with Press offices and policy departments, organise events and look after the agency's digital communications. We are also responsible for a vast image library and the Research information service.

Clare Parker

Clare Parker

Head of Communications

Communications staff

Forest management

The main aim of the Forest Management Research Group is to provide scientific understanding and knowledge exchange to increase the resilience of Britain’s forests to climate change and biotic threats, whilst maintaining productivity.

Gary Kerr

Gary Kerr

Forest Management Group Leader

Forest management staff

Forest mensuration, modelling and forecasting

The group focuses on quantifying Britain’s woodland resources, enabling the wood processing industries and renewable energy sector to assess the potential for UK raw material. Utilisation of UK timber also depends on timber quality so our research also aims to enable timber producers to understand how to improve their raw material and help ensure wood can compete with other materials.

Forest resources and product development

Our research aims to increase the quality of commercially grown species and to ensure that stock of the most appropriate genetic origin is used in forest establishment. We are utilising new methods in biotechnology to deliver the products of its tree breeding to the industry and an appreciation of underlying genetic structures to policy-makers.

Human resources

This group deals with all staffing issues, job adverts and employment issues

Alice Holt/NRS

Land use and ecosystem services (LUES)

The aim of LUES is to deliver evidence, methods and tools which support policymakers and practitioners in their understanding of how land use and climate change affects the biodiversity, resilience and ecosystem services of wooded landscapes now and in the future.

Kevin Watts

Kevin Watts

Senior Landscape Ecologist, Head of Land Use and Ecosystem Services (LUES) Research Group

Land use and ecosystem services (LUES) staff

Physical environment

Understanding the complex interactions between forests and their physical and historic environment.

Our research on physical environmental issues aims to ensure that forestry policies and practice can support this objective for land management.

Social and economic research group (SERG)

The Social and Economic Research Group (SERG) is an interdisciplinary group carrying out research to develop a better understanding of the ways in which trees and woodlands can benefit society and how we make decisions about their creation, management and use.

Liz O'Brien

Liz O'Brien

Head of Social and Economic Research Group

Social and economic research group (SERG) staff

Species, genes and habitat conservation

The Gene, Species and Habitat Conservation Science group has staff with expertise in the following areas: within species neutral and adaptive diversity, gene flow and adaptation (Joan Cottrell & Stuart A’Hara), species biodiversity (Nadia Barsoum), priority species (Alice Broome) and woodland mammals (Robin Gill & Mark Ferryman). We carry out relevant research in these areas in order to underpin policy and to provide informed advice to stakeholders and woodland managers.

Technical development

Technical Development evaluates and develops forestry methods and machinery for greater efficiency, improved ergonomics and safety and reduced environmental impact. Topics range from farm and small scale woodland operations to large scale upland forestry and land reclamation.

Jens Haufe

Jens Haufe

Acting Head of Technical Development

Technical development staff

Technical service unit (TSU)

The Technical Services Unit (TSU) provides technical and environmental services to a broad range of customers across the UK. We work on many of the research programmes within Forest Research as well as with a number of customers throughout the Forestry Commission and several external bodies.

Tree health

The Group's role is to sustain the forestry and tree sector through three main activities –

  • Provide rapid  advice and diagnosis via Tree Health Advice and Diagnostic Service
  • Undertake relevant and topical research on the pest and pathogen threats that affect British trees and which informs management and future proofing
  • Undertake analysis and evaluation to underpin government policy on tree health [and provide representation at internal Plant Health forums]

Urban forest

The Urban Forest Research Group (UFoRG) delivers scientific knowledge on the UK’s urban forests (all the trees in and around the urban realm – in public and private spaces, along linear routes and waterways, and in amenity areas).

The Centre for Excellence for Land Regeneration to Woodland is housed within the Group: producing and disseminating science and expertise required to deliver sustainable woodland and wider green-infrastructure from degraded land.

Kieron Doick

Kieron Doick

Head of Urban Forest Research Group

Urban forest staff