Skip to main content
Contact Us

Project Leader: Climate Change Adaptation Research

Working within the Centre for Sustainable Forestry & Climate Change, Gail is conducting research to examine alternative adaptation strategies to respond to the risks and opportunities from the future climate. This involves the development of climate change adaptation demonstration areas, guidance, case studies and collaboration to support adaptive practice across the forestry sector.

Gail returned to Forest Research in 2015. She originally studied for a BSc Honours degree in Environmental Science at Plymouth University followed by an MSc in Environmental Management. Gail worked on the implementation of the Habitats Directive and Public Service Agreements for protected sites for the Environment Agency, before joining the Forestry Commission in 2005. Since then she has worked in several roles including Project & Development Manager in West Midlands Forest District where she successfully developed and managed a Landscape Partnership Scheme; Research Scientist (2009-2013) focused on brownfield regeneration to greenspace end use (below) where she delivered practitioner planning tool and practice note. In Forest Services, she worked as a Business Improvement Analyst, focused on a number of projects to protect and improve England’s woodland resource (2013-2015).

Gail was awarded an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) from University of Surrey in 2013 for her research on the improvement of greenspace creation on brownfield land. The research was undertaken in collaboration with the Land Regeneration and Urban Greenspace Team at Forest Research.

  • Adaptive forest management for future climate
  • Developing climate change adaptation demonstrations in England
  • Developing forestry sector adaptation tools
  • Practical woodland management practice to improve adaptation to future climate
  • Knowledge exchange


  • Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management
  • Member of the European Commission EIP-AGRI Focus Group ‘New forest practices and tools for adaptation and mitigation of climate change’
Staff profile picture for Gail Atkinson

Gail Atkinson

BSc, MSc, CEnv, EngD
Head of Climate Change Science
Climate change

Forest Research

Alice Holt Lodge


Surrey GU10 4LH


Related Research


Climate Change Adaptation Demonstration

Establishment of climate change adaptation demonstration areas in Alice Holt Forest.

Status current

Related Publications


Adapting forest and woodland management to the changing climate

Our climate is changing rapidly, with milder, wetter winters, warmer summers, longer growing seasons and more frequent extreme conditions, including drought periods and heavy rainfall events. The projected rate of climate change is unprecedented and therefore action is essential now to improve the resilience of forests and woodlands, and to protect the benefits that they […]



Factsheet: Climate change adaptation

The changing climate is affecting our trees, forests and woodlands, how they grow and survive and the important ecosystem services they provide. For our forests and woodlands to thrive, adaptation measures must be considered carefully, and action taken. Ten measures to reduce climate risks and improve resilience are presented.

Woodland managers' understanding of resilience and their future information needs

This Research Note provides an investigation into private woodland owners’ and managers’ understanding of resilience in regard to forest and woodland management in the UK.

Land managers behaviour and forest resilience

Landowners and managers are being urged to change their behaviours and practice to increase forest resilience, this research describes some of the barriers to change including the different attitudes and beliefs of different kinds of land managers around uncertainty and risk, and the need for information and guidance which takes these perspectives into account.

Other Research

Delivering Resilient Forests: Demonstrating Adaptation
Project Leader/Research Scientist

The project will establish case studies to demonstrate adaptation measures, to support the delivery of more resilient forests. The research will engage with the forestry sector to develop the tools and information they need to adapt and improve resilience; develop adaptation strategies and adaptive management practices.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Atkinson, G.E., Beauchamp, K., Morison, J. I.L., Nicoll, B., Bathgate, S., Ray, D., Petr, M. and Stride, J. (2017). Integrating Adaptation Considerations into the Forest Planning Process: Experience and Lessons Learnt in the New Forest. ECCA The 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Glasgow, 5-9 June 2017.

Hemery, G., Petrokofsky, G., Ambrose-Oji, B., Atkinson, G., Broadmeadow, M., Edwards, D., Harrison, C., Lloyd, S., Mumford, J., O’Brien, L., Reid, C., Seville, M., Townsend, M., Weir, J., and Yeomans, A., (2015). Awareness, action and aspiration among Britain’s forestry community relating to environmental change Report of the British Woodlands Survey 2015.

Atkinson, G.E., Doick, K.J., Burningham, K., France, C. (2014). Brownfield regeneration to greenspace: Delivery of project objectives for social and environmental gain. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 13 (3), pp. 586-594.

Atkinson, G.E. & Doick, K.J. (2014). Planning for brownfield land regeneration to woodland and wider green infrastructure.

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

Atkinson, G.E. (2013). Improvement of greenspace creation on brownfield land. EngD Thesis, University of Surrey.

Atkinson, G., Doick, K.J., Burningham, K., and France, C. (2012). Brownfield Regeneration to Greenspace: Delivery of Project Objectives for Social and Environmental Gain. Proceedings of the European Forum of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.

Atkinson, G. (2011). Capturing expertise to improve the process of land regeneration to greenspace. Proceedings of the Centre for Environmental Strategy, 2011 Conference, University of Surrey.

Atkinson, G. & Doick, K. J. (2010). Brownfield Land Regeneration to Greenspace: Improving the Sustainability Credentials of Regeneration Projects through Process Modelling. IN FOX, H., R & MOORE, H. E. (Eds.) Restoration and Recovery: Regenerating land and communities. Whittles Publishing.

Atkinson, G.E., & Winnall, R.A. (2008). Rejuvenating Traditional Orchards, how multidisciplinary Landscape Partnership Schemes can serve as a vehicle for restoration – Wyre Forest, West Midlands, United Kingdom. Journal of Landscape Archaeology & Ecology, (7), pp. 19-22.

Collins, T., Collins, D., Writhrington, D., Atkinson, G., & Swash, A. (2005). Flood Risk Management & the SSSI PSA Target – How operating authorities can help. DEFRA Flood Risk Management Seminar. 21st March 2005.