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Based within the Soil Sustainability Research Group at Forest Research, Frank’s work includes:

  • Assisting the development and advance of soil sustainability research through field and laboratory work, collaboration, knowledge transfer and communication
  • Providing specialist expertise on soil sustainability through research into woodland soil ecology

Frank received an upper 2nd class honours in Biology at the University of Portsmouth in 2007 before obtaining a Distinction-grade MSc in Environmental Management with the University of Surrey in 2011. In May 2016 Frank successfully completed a 3-year doctoral training programme (PhD) through the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), entitled “Woodland restoration on landfill sites: Earthworm activity and ecosystem service provision” (click here for a short summary video). Frank’s PhD project was co-supervised within Forest Research by Dr Kieron Doick and Dr Elena Vanguelova, and by Dr Kevin Butt of the Earthworm Research Group (ERG) at UCLan.

Research Interests

  • Soil ecology in brownfield and natural forest soils
  • Soil health and woodland ecosystem service provision


  • Associate Editor for Soil Research (CSIRO)
  • Full Member of British Society of Soil Science
  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Committee Member (Research Officer) of the Earthworm Society of Britain
  • Member of the Earthworm Research Group (University of Central Lancashire)
  • Associate Tutor for the Field Studies Council’s BioLinks programme
  • Participant in EU COST 18237 – EUdaphobase – European Soil-Biology Data Warehouse for Soil Protection
  • Prior participant in EU COST FP1305 “Belowground biodiversity in European forests”
Forestry Staff Ashwood Frank.57f67127.fill 600x600 1

Frank Ashwood

BSc, MSc, PhD, M.I. Soil Sci, MRSB
Scientist - Soil Ecology
Physical environmental sciences

Forest Research

Northern Research Station


Midlothian EH25 9SY

Related Research


Woodland Restoration on Landfill Sites: Earthworm Activity and Ecosystem Service Provision

A PhD project investigating the interactions between earthworms, composted green waste (CGW) and trees on reclaimed landfill.

Status completed


Soil changes under long-term woodland establishment

Investigation of soil development under woodland and the effects on aboveground biodiversity change.

Status current

Peer reviewed journal articles

Ashwood, F., Barreto, C., Butt, K. R., Lampert, M., Doick, K. J. and Vanguelova, E. I. (Accepted). Earthworms and soil mesofauna as early bioindicators for landfill restoration. Soil Research.

Potapov, A.M., Sun, X., Barnes, A.D., Briones, M.J.I., Brown, G.G., Cameron, E.K., Chang, C-H., Cortet, J., Eisenhauer, N., Franco, A.L.C., Fujii, S., Geisen, S., Gongalsky, K.B., Guerra, C., Haimi, J., Handa, T., Janion-Scheepers, C., Karaban, K., Lindo, Z., Mathieu, J., Moreno, M.L., Murvanidze, M., Nielsen, U.N., Scheu, S., Schmidt, O., Schneider, C., Seeber, J., Tsiafouli, M.A., Tuma, J., Tiunov, A.V., Zaitsev, A.S., Ashwood, F., Callaham, M. and Wall, D.H. (2022). Global monitoring of soil animal communities using a common methodology. Soil Organisms, 94 (1). pp. 55–68

Azevedo, O. & Ashwood, F. (2022). Ectomycorrhizal fungi and forest soils: variety is the spice of life. Front. Young Minds. 10:652660.

Ashwood, F. & Gregory, S.J. (2021). Metatrichoniscoides celticus Oliver & Trew, 1981 new for England (Isopoda: Oniscidea: Trichoniscidae). Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group, 33: 46-51.

Ashwood, F. & Gregory, S.J. (2021). Observations of Trichoniscoides sarsi Patience, 1908 (Isopoda: Oniscidea: Trichoniscidae) on the west coast of Britain. Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group, 33: 72-78.

Ashwood, F., Vanguelova, E., Benham, S. & Butt, K. (2020). Looking for Earthworms in Deadwood. Front. Young Minds. 8:547465. doi: 10.3389/frym.2020.547465

Błonska E., Lasota J., Vasconcelos da Silva G.R., Vanguelova E., Ashwood F., Tibbett M., Watts K., Lukac M. (2020). Soil organic matter stabilization and carbon-cycling enzyme activity are affected by land management. Ann. For. Res. 63(1)

Ashwood, F., Watts, K., Park, K., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Benham, S. and Vanguelova, E. I. (2019). Woodland restoration on agricultural land: long-term impacts on soil quality. Restoration Ecology. 27 (6): 1381-1392.

Ashwood, F., Vanguelova, E. I., Benham, S. and Butt, K. R. (2019). Developing a systematic sampling method for earthworms in and around deadwood. Forest Ecosystems. 6:33.

Mark R Bakker, Ivano Brunner, Francis Ashwood, Brynhildur Bjarnadottir, Tom Bolger, Isabella Børja, Monique Carnol, Pavel Cudlin, Lise Dalsgaard, Amandine Erktan, Douglas Godbold, Hojka Kraigher, Ina Christin Meier, Luis Merino-Martín, Jurga Motiejūnaitė, Tanja Mrak, Edda Sigurdis Oddsdottir, Ivika Ostonen, Taina Liisa Pennanen, Ülle Püttsepp, Laura M. Suz, Elena Iordanova Vanguelova, Lars Vesterdal and Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia (2019). Belowground biodiversity relates positively to ecosystem services of European forests. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. 2, 6.

Ashwood, F., Butt, K. R., Doick, K. J. and Vanguelova, E. I. (2018). Effects of composted green waste on soil quality and tree growth on a reclaimed landfill site. European Journal of Soil Biology. 87: 46–52.

Ashwood, F., Butt, K. R., Doick, K. J. and Vanguelova, E. I. (2017). Interactive effects of composted green waste and earthworm activity on tree growth and reclaimed soil quality: A mesocosm experiment. Applied Soil Ecology. 119: 226-233.

Ashwood, F., Butt, K. R., Doick, K. J. and Vanguelova, E. I. (2017). Investigating tree foliar preference by the earthworms Aporrectodea longa and Allolobophora chlorotica in reclaimed and loam soil, Applied Soil Ecology. 110: 109–117

Doick, K. J., Davies, H. J., Handley, P., Vaz Monteiro, M., O’Brien, L. and Ashwood, F. (2016). Introducing England’s Urban Forests. Urban Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee’s (FWAC) Network.

Ashwood, F. (2016). Woodland Restoration on Landfill Sites: Earthworm Activity and Ecosystem Service Provision. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Barsoum, N., Fuller, L, Ashwood, F., Reed, K., Bonnet-Lebrun, A.-S. and Leung, F (2014). Ground-dwelling spider (Araneae) and carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) community assemblages in mixed and monoculture stands of oak (Quercus robur L./Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Forest Ecology and Management. 321: 29–41.

Ashwood, F., Doick, K.J., Atkinson, G.E. and Chenoweth, J. (2014). Under-utilisation of organic wastes during brownfield regeneration to community woodland: Tackling the barriers. Waste Management and Research. 32 (1), 49 – 55.

Publications and reports for FC and other Government Departments and allied organisations, trade and EU publications

Sabine Braun, Rocio Alonso, Frank Ashwood, Tomáš Chuman, Lucienne De Witte, Thomas Dirnböck, Per Erik Karlsson, Sirkku Manninen, Michael Perring, Hans Tömmervik, Simon Tresch, Liisa Ukonmaanaho and Elena Vanguelova. (2022). Chapter 9: Effects of nitrogen deposition on forests and other wooded land. In: Roland Bobbink, Christin Loran, Hilde Tomassen (eds), Review and revision of empirical critical loads of nitrogen for Europe. Texte 110/2022. Umweltbundesamt, Dessau-Roßlau. ISSN 1862-4804.

Ashwood, F. (2022). The World Beneath your Feet. Forestry & Timber News, (August), pp 66-67.

Vanguelova, E., Ashwood, F., Benham, S. and Broadmeadow, S. (2019). Environmental factors stressing oak trees. In: Quine, C.P., Atkinson, N., Denman, S., Desprez-Loustau, M-L., Jackson, R., Kirby, K. (eds), Action Oak Knowledge review: an assessment of the current evidence on oak health in the UK, identification of evidence gaps and prioritisation of research needs. Action Oak, Haslemere, UK. ISBN 978-1-5272-4193-0

Vanguelova, E., Chapman, S., Perks, M., Yamulki, S., Randle, T., Ashwood, F. and Morison, J. (2018). Afforestation and restocking on peaty soils – new evidence assessment. ClimateXChange Project Report. Edinburgh, UK.

Ashwood, F., Albertini, A. and Doick, K. J. (2015). Best Practice Guidance Note for Land Regeneration No. 20: Drought Tolerant Tree Species and Land Regeneration. Forest Research, Farnham.

Ashwood, F. (2015). Best Practice Guidance Note for Land Regeneration No. 18: Lowland Calcareous Grassland – Creation and Management in Land Regeneration. Forest Research, Farnham.

Doick, K.J. and Ashwood, F. (2011). Brownfield regeneration to a soft-end use: Barriers to using a quality planting medium. Reclamation (the Journal of the BLRS), November 2011, pp.3.

Other audiences

Ashwood, F. (2019). Jaw-dropping, tail-dropping earthworms. Newsletter and webpage article for the Earthworm Society of Britain.

Ashwood, F. (2018). UK’s rarest earthworm species found in ECN Alice Holt forest. News article for the UK Environmental Change Network (ECN)[Available online:].

Ashwood, F. & Byrne, J. (2018). WrEN Soils Project. Blog post for the Woodland Creation & Ecological Networks (WrEN) project [Available online:].

Ashwood, F. (2018). UK’s rarest earthworm species found. News article for Forest Research [Available online:].

Ashwood, F. (2018). Digging into the world of earthworm research. Newsletter and webpage article for the Earthworm Society of Britain [Available online:].


British Society for Soil Science Webinar: Soil is Alive! – Invited speaker on soil biodiversity for The Ground Beneath our Feet, part of the Making Natural History Festival. (2021).

Grubbing In The Filth: An Invertebrate Podcast – Guest interviewee on soil mesofauna. (2021). [Available online:]

BBC Breakfast Live (16th April 2019) – Demonstrating the importance of earthworms and promoting the Big Forest Find at Westonbirt Arboretum as part of Forestry England’s centenary celebrations.

Ashwood, F. (2017). Woodland Restoration On Landfill Sites – the role of green composted waste and earthworms. Research summary video for Forest Research [Video available online:].