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James contributes to the work of the Climate Change Science Group which spans research and knowledge exchange on climate change impacts on trees, woodlands and forests, adaptation measures and forestry’s mitigation contributions. In developing our understanding of forest carbon and GHG balance, he works with the results from FR’s long-term measurement site at Alice Holt, and Harwood Forest. He also advises on climate change impacts on, and adaptation measures for, forestry. He contributed to the UK Climate Change Risk Assessments in 2012 and 2017, and co-chaired the LWEC Report Card on the Climate Change Impacts on UK Agriculture and Forestry (2017). He was a Review Editor for Chapter 5 on ‘Food, Fibre and other Ecosystem Products’ in the recent IPCC WGII 6th Assessment Report (2022).


James joined Forest Research in 2008. He has worked for over 35 years on the impact of climate change on plant growth and water use, and on the carbon, water and greenhouse gas balances of vegetation. He previously worked at the universities of Essex (1995-2007) and Reading (1985-1994) and in CSIRO, Australia (1981-1984).



  • Member of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • Member of the Society for Experimental Biology
  • Member of the British Ecological Society
Principal Scientist
Climate change

Alice Holt Lodge




Related Research


Forestry and climate change mitigation

Research to improve our understanding of how forests and woodlands can contribute to the carbon balance at both local and global scales

Status current


Forest fires and climate change

Studying the incidence, contributory factors and impact of forest fires and developing predictive models

Status current
Climate change adaptation

How woodland management can adapt in anticipation of climate change

Related Publications


The carbon balances of two contrasting forest stands growing in the UK

This Research Note summarises recent research on the carbon balances of two forest stands: an upland Sitka spruce plantation in Harwood Forest in the northeast of England, and a lowland deciduous oak plantation in Alice Holt Forest in southeast England.



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.

The role of urban trees and greenspaces in reducing urban air temperatures

This Research Note describes the negative impact that elevated urban temperatures can have on human thermal comfort and health and how urban green infrastructure can help lessen this impact.

A strategic assessment of the afforested peat resource in Wales

This report assesses the distribution of the Welsh peatlands, gives an overview of the likely impacts of peat forming factors and afforested peatland restoration, develops national and field based assessment schemes for the assessment of afforested peatland in Wales viable for restoration, carries out a national GIS assessment identifying potential restoration areas in Wales, tests […]

Understanding the carbon and greenhouse gas balance of forests in Britain

Forests and woodlands represent a substantial stock of carbon that is contained in soil, trees and other vegetation. They are a key component of the global carbon cycle and their effective management, at both global and regional scales, is an important mechanism for reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Understanding what determines the size of […]

Other Research

Programme on ‘Sustainable Forest Management in the light of Environmental Change’: Research examining how forest management could change to adapt woodlands to the changing environment and how forestry can contribute to sustainability through innovations such as  ‘Climate Smart Forestry’.

‘Net Zero Plus’ and tree planting: Assessing and demonstrating the role of new woodland creation and its planning in contributing to UK Net Zero targets. Forest Research is contributing measurements, data and modelling expertise to this major project which is led by University of Exeter.

Introducing stewardship science to improve woodland resilience with ‘Forest Lab’: Exploring new mechanisms to improve knowledge exchange between forestry scientists and managers of private woodlands to understand change in their woodlands and help build woodland resilience, through developing ‘stewardship scientists’, a collaborative project with Sylva Foundation.



Peer reviewed journal articles

Shannon, V.L., Vanguelova, E.I., Morison, J.I.L., Shaw, L.J., & Clark, J.M. (2022). The contribution of deadwood to soil carbon dynamics in contrasting temperate forest ecosystems. European Journal of Forest Research (2022) 141:241–252.

Purser, G., Drewer, J., Morison, J.I.L. & Heal, M.R., (2021). A first assessment of the sources of isoprene and monoterpene emissions from short-rotation coppice Eucalyptus gunnii bioenergy plantation in the United Kingdom. Atmospheric Environment 262: 118617

Yamulki, S., Forster, J., Xenakis, G., Ash, A., Brunt, J., Perks, M. & Morison, J.I.L. (2021). Effects of clearfell harvesting on soil CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes in an upland Sitka spruce stand in England. Biogeosciences 18: 4227-4241

Xenakis, G., Ash, A., Siebicke, L., Perks, M. & Morison, J.I.L. (2021). Comparison of the carbon, water and energy balances of mature stand and clear-fell stages in a British Sitka spruce forests and the impact of the 2018 drought. Agricultural & Forest Meteorology 306: 108437.

Purser, G., Drewer, J., Heal, M.R., Sircus, R.A.S., Dunn, L.K. & Morison, J.I.L. (2021). Isoprene and monoterpene emissions from alder, aspen and spruce short-rotation forest plantations in the United Kingdom. Biogeosciences, 18: 2487–2510.

Ilie, I., Dittrich, P., Carvalhais, N., Jung, M., Heinemeyer, A., Migliavacca, M., Morison, J.I.L., Sippel, S., Subke, J-A., Wilkinson, M. & Mahecha, M.D. (2017). Reverse engineering model structures for soil and ecosystem respiration: the potential of gene expression programming. Geoscientific Model Development 10: 3519-3545, DOI: 10.5194/gmd-10-3519-2017.

Pinnington, E.M., Casella, E., Dance, S.L., Lawless, A.S., Morison, J.I.L., Nichols, N.K., Wilkinson, M., & Quaife T.L. (2017). Understanding the effect of disturbance from selective felling on the carbon dynamics of a managed woodland by combining observations with model predictions JGR- Biogeosciences, 10.1002/2017JG003760.

Vanguelova, E.I., Pitman, R., Benham, S. Perks, M., and Morison, J.I.L. (2017). Impact of tree stump harvesting on soil carbon and nutrients and second rotation tree growth in mid-Wales, UK. Open Journal of Forestry7: 58-78. DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2017.71005.

Yamulki, S.and Morison, J.I.L. (2017). Annual greenhouse gas fluxes from a temperate deciduous oak forest floor. Forestry 90: 541-552. DOI: 10.1093/forestry/cpx008

Wilkinson, M., Eaton, E.L. and Morison, J.I.L. (2017). Variation in the date of budburst in Quercus robur and Q. petraea across a range of provenances grown in Southern England. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 1-12. DOI:10.1007/s10342-016-0998-z

Pinnington, E.M., Casella, E., Dance, S.L., Lawless, A. S., Morison, J.I.L., Nichols, N.K., Wilkinson, M. and Quaife, T.L. (2016). Investigating the role of prior and observation error correlations in improving a model forecast for forest carbon balance using Four-dimensional Variational data assimilation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 228: 299-314. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2016.07.006.

Wingate, L., Ogée, J., Cremonese, E., Filippa, G., Mizunuma, T., Migliavacca, M., Moisy, C., Wilkinson, M., Moureaux, C., Wohlfahrt, G., Hammerle, A., Hörtnagl, L., Gimeno, C., Porcar-Castell, A., Galvagno, M., Nakaji, T., Morison, J. Kolle, O., Knohl, A., Kutsch, W., Kolari, P., Nikinmaa, E., Ibrom, A., Gielen, B., Eugster, W., Balzarolo, M., Papale, D., Klumpp, K., Köstner, B., Grünwald, T., Joffre, R., Ourcival, J.-M., Hellstrom, M., Lindroth, A., George, C., Longdoz, B., Genty, B., Levula, J., Heinesch, B., Sprintsin, A., Yakir, D., Manise, T., Guyon, D., Ahrends, H., Plaza-Aguilar, A., Guan, J. H. and J. Grace (2015). Interpreting canopy development and physiology using a European phenology camera network at flux sites. Biogeosciences 12: 5995-6015.

Wilkinson, M., Crow, P., Eaton, E.L. and Morison, J.I.L. (2015). Effects of management thinning on CO2 exchange by a plantation oak woodland in south-eastern England. Biogeosciences Discussions 12: 16197-16232. DOI: 10.5194/bgd-12-16197-2015.

D’Odorico, P., Gonsamo, A., Gough, C.M., Bohrer, G., Morison, J., Wilkinson, M., Hanson, P.J., Gianelle, D., Fuentes, J.D. and Buchmann, N. (2015). The match and mismatch between photosynthesis and land surface phenology of deciduous forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 214-15: 25-38.

Ward, H.C., Kotthaus, S., Grimmond, C.S.B., Bjorkegren, A., Wilkinson, M., Morrison, W.T.J., Evans, J.G., Morison, J.I.L. and Iamarino, M. (2015). Effects of urban density on carbon dioxide exchanges: observations of dense urban, suburban and woodland areas of southern England. Environmental Pollution 198: 186-200.

Barsoum, N., Eaton, E.L., Levanič, T., Pargade, J., Bonnart, X. and Morison J.I.L. (2015). Climatic drivers of oak growth over the past one hundred years in mixed and monoculture stands in southern England and northern France. European Journal of Forest Research 134: 33-51. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-014-0831-5.

Harris, Z., McNamara, N.P., Rowe, R., Dondini, M., Finch, J., Perks, M., Morison, J., Donnison, I., Farrar, K., Sohi, S., Ineson, P., Smith, P. and Taylor, G. (2014). The ELUM Project: Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial. Biofuels 5: 111-116.

Wang, S., Hastings, A., Wang, S., Sunnenberg, G., Tallis, M. J., Casella, E., Taylor, S., Alexander, P., Cisowska, I., Lovett, A., Taylor, G., Firth, S., Moran, D., Morison, J. and Smith, P. (2014). The potential for bioenergy crops to contribute to meeting GB heat and electricity demands. GCB Bioenergy 6: 136–141. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12123

Viger, M., Rodriguez-Acosta, M., Rae, A.M., Morison, J.I.L. and Taylor, G. (2013). Toward improved drought tolerance in bioenergy crops: QTL for carbon isotope composition and stomatal conductance in Populus. Food and Energy Security 2: 220-239. Article first published online: 3 DEC 2013, DOI: 10.1002/fes3.39

Vanguelova E.I., Nisbet T.R., Moffat A.J., Broadmeadow S., Sanders, T.G.M.and Morison, J.I.L. (2013). A new evaluation of carbon stocks in British forest soils. Soil Use and Management 29(2): 169-181. DOI: 10.1111/sum.12025.

Mizunuma T., Wilkinson M., Eaton, E.L., Mencuccini, M., Morison, J.I.L. and Grace, J. (2013). The relationship between carbon dioxide uptake and canopy colour from two camera systems in a deciduous forest in southern England. Functional Ecology 27: 196-207., DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12026.

Tallis M.J., Casella E., Henshall P.A., Aylott M.J., Randle T.J., Morison J.I.L. and Taylor G. (2013). Development and evaluation of ForestGrowth-SRC a process-based model for short rotation coppice yield and spatial supply at a national scale. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 5: 53-66.

Stokes V.J., Morecroft M.D.and Morison J.I.L. (2010). Comparison of leaf water use efficiency of oak and sycamore in the canopy over two growing seasons. Trees – Structure and Function 24: 297-306.

Book and book chapters (including published conference proceedings)

Grace, J., Morison, J. & Perks, M. (2013) Forests, Forestry and Climate Change, Chap 10 in Challenges and Opportunities for the World’s Forests in the 21st Century, T. Fenning, (Ed). Forest Sciences, Vol. 81, Springer., DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7076-8_1

FC and FR publications including official statistics

Vaz Monteiro, M., Handley, P. Morison, J.I.L., Doick, K.J. (2019). The role of urban trees and greenspaces in reducing urban air temperatures. Forest Research Research Note, FCRN037, 12pp.

Morison, J., Matthews, R., Miller, G., Perks, M., Randle, T., Vanguelova, E., White, M. and Yamulki, S. (2012). Understanding the carbon and greenhouse gas balance of forests in Britain (PDF-7422K). Forestry Commission Research Report 18. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. i–vi + 1–149 pp.

Vanguelova, E., Broadmeadow, S., Anderson, R., Yamulki, S., Randle, T., Nisbet, T. & Morison, J. (2012) A Strategic Assessment of the Afforested Peat Resource in Wales. Report for Forestry Commission Wales, Project No. 480.CY.00075, October 2012., 141 pp.

Morison, J.I.L., Vanguelova, E., Broadmeadow, S., Perks, M., Yamulki, S.and Randle, T. (2010). Understanding the GHG implications of forestry on peat soils in Scotland (PDF-2140K). Report for Forestry Commission Scotland, October 2010, Forest Research, 56pp.

Forestry Commission (2011). Forests and Climate Change. UK Forestry Standard Guidelines. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. i–iv + 1–68 pp. ISBN 978-0-85538-832-4. (member of drafting panel).

Ray, D. Morison, J.and Broadmeadow, M. (2010). Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands (PDF-1920 KB). Forestry Commission (England), Research Note FCRN 201, 16pp. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Contract and project reports –excluding any which are commercially confidential

Perks, M.  Khomik, M., Bathgate, S., Chapman, S., Slee, B., Yeluripati, J., Roberts, D. & Morison, J. (2018). Agroforestry in Scotland – potential benefits in a changing climate. Report for ClimateXChange, Edinburgh, 48pp.

Morison, J. I. L. and Matthews, R. B. (eds.) (2016): Agriculture and Forestry Climate Change Impacts Summary Report, Living With Environmental Change. 24pp, ISBN 978-0-9934074-0-6, and associated technical papers,

Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report, 2016. Contributing author for Chapter 3, “Natural Environment and Natural Assets”, lead author Iain Brown. Published July 2016, c. 200pp.

ECI, HRW, Climate Resilience and Forest Research (2013) Assessing preparedness of England’s natural resources for a changing climate: exploring trends in vulnerability to climate change using indicators. Final Report to the Adaptation Sub-Committee, June 2013. (contribution to forestry section).

Morison, J.I.L. (2012) Afforested Peatland Restoration. “Enquiry Response” for ClimateXChange, Scotland. Edinburgh, 8pp.

Moffat, A.J., Morison, J.I.L., Nicoll, B. and Bain, V. (2012). Climate Change Risk Assessment for the Forestry Sector. Defra, London. 182pp.

Trade journal and newsletter articles

Vanguelova, E., Morison J., Nisbet, T. & Martin, S. (2015) Taking stock of forest soil carbon. Forestry & Timber News, August 2015.

Vanguelova, E., Moffat A., Morison J. & Martin, S. (2011) Can we manage the impacts of changing climate on our forest soils ? Forestry & Timber News, June 2011.

Hemery, G. & Morison J. (2011). The science behind the OneOak project. Chartered Forester. Winter 2010, p. 12-14.

Scientific conferences: presentations or posters

Freer-Smith, P. & Morison, J.I.L. (2016) Climate change and the sustainable intensification of planted forests. Presentation to: International Scientific Seminar on Sustainable Intensification of Planted Forests: how far can we go?; EFI Atlantic/IUFRO, IEFC, Biarritz, 13th June 2016.

Morison, J.I.L., Moffat A.J. & Gazzard R. (2014) Addressing the risks from climate change, particularly wildfire. Presentation to: Improving forest resilience, ICF SE Regional Conference, 27th November 2014, Windsor.

Grace J, & Morison, J.I.L. (2012) Sitka spruce as a sink for carbon dioxide. Presentation to: Managing forests for ecosystem services: can spruce forests show the way? IUFRO, Edinburgh, October 8th -11th 2012.

Morison, J.I.L. (2012) The possible contribution of trees, woods and forests to the UK GHG balance. Presentation to: CARBiFOR II Stakeholder meeting, 4th September, Dublin.