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Project leader: Environmental Change network

Sue joined Forest Research in 1984 working in the chemical analysis laboratory. In 1986 she commenced work on the Open-Top Chamber project investigating the effects of air pollution on trees, followed by the ECOCRAFT project investigating the effects of elevated CO2 on UK forests. In 1988 she obtained a HND in Applied Environmental Analysis and Monitoring, followed by a BSc (Hons) Applied Environmental Science in 1994 and a PGCert in Biological Recording in 2006

In 1992 Sue began work on establishing long term monitoring plots as part of the UN- CLRTAP ICP forest monitoring program (Level 2) having overall responsibility for deposition, biodiversity and vegetation monitoring and in 1997 she became responsible for the Forestry commissions monitoring within the UK Environmental Change network. In 2009 Sue took overall responsibilities for all local and regional scale monitoring and assessment of environmental variables in forests as part of the integrated forest monitoring program. Between 2009 and 2011 she led the life funded UK further development of EU forest monitoring program (FutMon). Currently she leads the UK based part of the Long-term Intensive Forest Monitoring Program (a European-wide forest monitoring platform) and is the UK representative for ICP Forests Steering Committee (National Focal Centre). Sue is also responsible for woodland plant ecological surveys in the long term monitoring networks, and the interpretation of data.

Research interests

  • Environmental and Forest Monitoring
  • Nitrogen deposition and forest biogeochemistry
  • Soil carbon and nutrient status
  • Effects of climate change on woodlands and forests
  • Biodiversity indicators and forest condition
  • Forest ecosystem services
  • Climate change and forest adaptation
  • Air pollution and forest health
  • Ectomycorrhizal communities in forests
  • Understanding the predisposition factors to tree health and decline


  • Member of the British Ecological Society
  • Member of the ICP forests expert panel on deposition
  • Member of the ICP forests expert panel on biodiversity
  • Member of the ICP forests expert panel on litterfall
  • Member of the ICP forests expert panel on growth
  • Member of the ICP forests expert panel on ozone
  • Health and Safety officer (union)
  • Member of the Health and Safety Committee
  • Bullying and harassment officer (union)
  • Works first aider
  • Member of the Staff Council
Research Scientist
Physical environmental sciences

Alice Holt

Alice Holt Lodge




Related Research


Large scale diversity and distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi

A multi-partner Europe wide transdisciplinary project to understand the large-scale diversity and distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi across Europe, taking into account long-term monitoring of environment, climate, soil and geographical variables.

Status current


Integrated forest monitoring

About the Level I, Level II, environmental change network, FutMon and BioSoil programmes

Status current
Further development and implementation of an EU-level forest monitoring system (FutMon)

Creation of a pan-European long term forest monitoring system

Intensive long term monitoring of forest ecosystems (Level II)

Level II programme of environmental monitoring to provide an understanding of the impact of air pollution and other factors which influence forest ecosystems

Environmental Change Network - Chronosequencing of vegetation data

Preliminary investigation into the effects of climate change on oak and Corsican pine.

Environmental Change Network - Ecological survey of Straits enclosure

Results of a complete ecological survey of the Straits Enclosure research site for four time points during the 1999-2000 growing season

Environmental Change Network

Analysing and predicting environmental change

Peer reviewed journal articles

Etzold, S, Ferretti, M, Benham, S et al. Continental-scale forest growth in Europe is driven by management and further modulated by nitrogen deposition submitted to Forest Ecol and Management (2020) 458, 117762

S Rennie, C Andrews, S Atkinson, D Beaumont, S Benham, V Bowmaker, J Dick, B Dodd, C McKenna, D Pallett, R. Rose, S. M. Schäfer, T. Scott, C. Taylor, and H. Watson. The UK Environmental Change Network datasets – integrated and co-located data for long-term environmental research (1993–2015). Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 87–107, 2020

Ashwood, F., Vanguelova, E.I., Benham, S. et al. Developing a systematic sampling method for earthworms in and around deadwood. (2019) For. Ecosyst. (2019) 6: 33.

Quine, C.P., Atkinson, N., Denman, S. Desprez-Loustau, M-L., Jackson, R., Kirby, K. (eds) 2019 Action Oak Knowledge review : an assessment of the current evidence on oak health, identification of evidence gaps and prioritisation of research needs. Action Oak, Haslemere, UK

Ashwood F, Benham S, Vanguelova E, Watts K (2019). Woodland restoration on agricultural land: long-term impacts on soil quality Restoration Ecology DOI:10.1111/rec.13003

Weather cues for mast fruiting in common beech, sessile and common oak, Norway spruce and Scots pine in Europe (2018). Anita Nussbaumer, P Waldner, and S. Benham. Forest Ecology and Management 429 (2018) 336-350.

Guerrieri R., Vanguelova E., Pitman R., Benham S., Perks M., Morison J., and Mencuccini M. (2018). Climate overrides atmospheric deposition in affecting spatial and temporal changes in forest water-use efficiency and nitrogen availability across Britain. Under review in Nature.

Environment and host as large-scale controls of ectomycorrhizal fungi (2018) Sietse van der Linde, L.M. Suz, D.L. Orme, F. Cox, H. Andreae, E. Asi, B. Atkinson, S. Benham, C. Carroll, N. Cools, B. De Vos, H. Dietrich, J. Eichhorn, J. Gehrmann, T. Grebenc, H.S. Gweon, K. Hansen, F. Jacob, F. Kristöfel, P. Lech, M. Manninger, J. Martin, H. Meesenburg, P. Merilä, M. Nicolas, P. Pavlenda, P. Rautio, M. Schaub, H. Schröck, W. Seidling, V. Šrámek, A. Thimonier, I.M. Thomsen, H. Titeux, E. Vanguelova, A. Verstraeten, L. Vesterdal, P. Waldner, S. Wijk, Y. Zhang, D. Žlindra M.I. Bidartondo. Nature (2018) DOI:10.1038/s41586-018-0189-9

Quantifying Carbon and Nutrient Input from Litterfall in European Forests using Field Observations and Modelling, (2018). Mathias Neumann, Liisa Ukonmaanaho, James Johnson, Sue Benham, Lars Vesterdal, Radek Novotný, Arne Verstraeten, Lars Lundin, Anne Thimonier, Panagiotis Michopoulos, and Hubert Hasenauer. Biogeochemistry, (2018) Volume 32, Issue 5, Pages 737-901 DOI:10.1029/2017GB005825

Vanguelova E.I., Crow P., Benham S., Pitman R., Forster J., Eaton E.L., Morison J.I.L. (2017) Impact of Sitka spruce afforestation on the carbon stocks of peaty gley soils – a chronosequence study in the north of England. Forestry 2019; 92, 242–252

Vanguelova E., Pitman R., Benham S., Perks M., and Morison, J.I. (2017) Impact of Tree Stump Harvesting on Soil Carbon and Nutrients and Second Rotation Tree Growth in Mid-Wales, UK. Open Journal of Forestry, 7, 58-78

Vanguelova E.I., Crow P., and Benham S. (2016) Impact of Sitka spruce afforestation on the Carbon stock of peaty gley soils – a chronosequence study in the north of England. Forestry-2016-174.

Nussbaumer A., Waldner P., and Benham S. (2016) Patterns of mast fruiting of common beech, sessile and common oak, Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central and Northern Europe. Forest Ecology and Management 363:237-251

Monteith D., Henrys P., and Benham S. (2016) Trends and variability in weather and atmospheric deposition at UK Environmental Change Network sites (1993–2012), Ecological Indicators, Volume 68, September 2016, Pages 21-35, ISSN 1470-160X,

Rose R., Monteith D.T., and Benham S. (2016) Evidence for increases in vegetation species richness across UK Environmental Change Network sites linked to changes in air pollution and weather patterns, Ecological Indicators, Volume 68, September 2016, Pages 52-62, ISSN 1470-160X

Dick J., Andrews C., Beaumont D.A., and Benham S. (2016) Analysis of temporal change in delivery of ecosystem services over 20 years at long term monitoring sites of the UK Environmental Change Network, Ecological Indicators, Volume 68, September 2016, Pages 115-125, ISSN 1470-160X,

Waldner P., Thimonier A., Graf Pannatier E., Benham S., and Vanguelova E. (2015) Exceedance of critical loads and of critical limits impacts tree nutrition across Europe. Annals of Forest Science, DOI 10.1007/s13595-015-0489-2

Matthew R. Evans, Aristides Moustakas, Gregory Carey, Yadvinder Malhi, Nathalie Butt, Sue Benham, Denise Pallett & Stefanie Schäfer. (2015) Allometry and growth of eight tree taxa in United Kingdom woodlands. Sci. Data 2:150006 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2015.6 (2015).

Suz LM., Benham S., Cheffings C., Cox F., Hackett L., Jones A.G., and Mueller G.M. (2015) Monitoring ectomycorrhizal fungi at large scales for science, forest management, fungal conservation and environmental policy Annals of Forest science. DOI 10.1007/s13595-014-0447-4

Suz L.M., Benham S., Dietrich H.P., and Bidartondo M.I. (2014) ‘Environmental drivers of ectomycorrhizal communities in Europe’s temperate oak forests Molecular Ecology; DOI:10.1111/mec.12947

Waldner, P, Marchetto, A, Thimonier, A, Schmitt, M, Rogora, M, Granke, O, Mues, V, Hansen, K, Pihl Karlsson, G, Zlindra, D, Clarke, N, Verstraeten, A, Lazdins, A, Schimming, C, Iacoban, C, Lindroos, A-J, Vanguelova, E, Benham, S, Meesenburg, H, Nicolas, M, Kowalska, A, Apuhtin, V, Nappa, U, Lachmanova, Z, Kristoefel, F, Bleeker, A, Ingerslev, M, Vesterdal, L, Molina, J, Fischer, U, Seidling, W, Jonard, M, O’Dea, P, Johnson, J, Fischer, R, and Lorenz, M (2014) Detection of temporal trends in atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen and sulphate to forests in Europe.

Jonard, M.,Fürst, A. Verstraeten, A. Benham, S. et al., (2014) Tree mineral nutrition is deteriorating in Europe, Global Change Biology DOI:10.1111/gcb.12657

Mathieu Jonard, Alfred Fürst Arne Verstraeten, Anne Thimonier, Volkmar Timmermann, Nenad Potočić, Peter Waldner, Sue Benham, Karin Hansen, Päivi Merilä, Quentin Ponette, Ana C de la Cruz, Peter Roskams, Manuel Nicolas, Luc Croisé, Morten Ingerslev, Giorgio Matteucci, Bruno Decinti, Marco Bascietto and Pasi Rautio, (2014) Tree mineral nutrition is deteriorating in Europe. Global Change Biology DOI:10.1111/gcb.12657

Ed Tipping, Sue Benham, Peter Crow (2014) Atmospheric deposition of phosphorus to land and freshwater. Environmental Science Processes and Impacts. DOI 10.1039/c3em00641g

Rona Pitman; Sue Benham; Jane Poole (2013) A chronosequence study of soil nutrient status under oak and Corsican pine with Ellenberg assessed ground vegetation changes. Forestry 2013; doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpt051

Benham, S.E., Vanguelova, E.I., Pitman, R.M. (2012). Short and long term changes in carbon, nitrogen and acidity in the forest soils under oak at the Alice Holt Environmental Change Network site. Science of The Total Environment 420. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.004.

Pitman, R., Vanguelova, E.I. & Benham, S. (2010). Effects of phytophagous insects on water and soil nutrient concentrations and fluxes through forest stands in the Level II monitoring network in the UK. Science of the Total Environment 409 169-181

Benham, S.E., Broadmeadow, M.S.J., Schaub, M., Calatayud, V. & Bussotti, F. (2010). Using commercial tree nurseries to monitor visible ozone injury – an evaluation. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 1824–1831.

Vanguelova, E.I., Benham, S., Pitman, R., Moffat, A. Broadmeadow, M., Nisbet, T., Durrant, D., Barsoum, N.,Wilkinson, M., Bochereau, F., Broadmeadow, S., Hutchings, T., Crow, P., Durrant-Huston, T. & Taylor, P. (2010). Chemical fluxes in time through forest ecosystems in the UK – soil response to pollution recovery. Environmental Pollution 158: 1857-1869.

Book and book chapters (including published conference proceedings)

Benham, S. E., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., de Rigo, D., (2016). Taxus baccata in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., de Rigo, D., Caudullo, G., Houston Durrant, T., Mauri, A. (Eds.), European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publ. Off. EU, Luxembourg.

Vanguelova E., Benham S (2015) Long-term trends and effects of air pollution on British forests and soils 4th ICP forests scientific conference 2015.

Vanguelova E., Benham S. (2016) Base cations and nitrogen budgets of forest ecosystems in the UK (Tracing air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystems:trend and risk assessments) 5th ICP forests scientific conference Luxembourg 2016

Vanguelova, E, Pitman, R., Benham, S., Wilkinson, M., Komarov, A., Khoraskina, Y. and Bykhovets, S. (2011). Long term changes in soil carbon at Alice Holt forest modelled by ROMUL (forest soil organic matter process model). Proceedings of EU COST 0803 meeting “Carbon balance after disturbances and drought”, 27 June -1 July 2011, Barcelona, Spain.

Pitman, R., Vanguelova, E., Benham, S and Perks, M. (2011). Impacts of tree stump removal on soil carbon, soil nutrients and tree growth in UK. Proceedings, “Tree stumps for Bioenergy” Symposium, 24-26 October 2011, Uppsala, Sweden.

Moffat, A.J., Benham, S., Morison, J.I.L., Pitman, R., Vanguelova, E.I., Wilkinson, M. and Yamulki, S. (2010). The value of forest monitoring in developing forest ecosystem science in Britain. In: John Derome – Ambassador for forest monitoring in Europe, L. Ukonmaanaho, K. Derome, P. Rautio and P. Merilä (eds), Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 180, p. 28.

FC and FR publications including official statistics

Vanguelova E. Benham S. Crow P, Denman S. (2016) Soil nutrition and status of the Major Oak Tree Sherwood Forest Report Oct 2016 Forest Research

Pitman, R., Vanguelova, E. and Benham, S. (2011). Continuous Cover Forestry effects on soil properties and ground vegetation at Clocaenog, N. Wales. Forest Research report, 18 pages.

Vanguelova, E., Pitman, R., Benham, S. And Perks, M. (2011). Impact of destumping forest management on soil carbon and nutrients and second rotation Sitka spruce growth at Bala destumping site in Wales. Forest Research Report, 20 pages.

Contract and project reports – excluding any which are commercially confidential

GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM 2014 NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY COULD CONSTRAINT FOREST ECOSYSTEM RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CHANGE IN EUROPE Mathieu Jonard1, Alfred Fürst2, Arne Verstraeten3, Anne Thimonier4, Volkmar Timmermann5, Nenad Potočić6, Peter Waldner4, Sue Benham7, Karin Hansen8, Päivi Merilä9, Quentin Ponette1, Ana C de la Cruz10, Peter Roskams3, Manuel Nicolas11, Luc Croisé11, Morten Ingerslev12, Giorgio Matteucci13, Bruno Decinti14, Marco Bascietto14 and Pasi Rautio

Waldner, P., Thimonier, A., Schmitt, M., Marchetto, A., Rogora, M., Granke, O., Mues, V., Hansen, K., Pihl-Karlsson, G., Zlindra, D., Clarke, N., Verstraeten, A., Lazdins, A., Schimming, C., Iacoban, C., Lindroos, A.-J., Vanguelova, E., Benham, S., Meesenburg, H., Nicolas, M., Kowalska, A., Apuhtin, V., Nappa, U., Lachmanová, Z., Neumann, M., Bleeker, A., Ingerslev, M., Molina, J., Vesterdal, L., Seidling, W., Fischer, U., Fischer, R. & Lorenz, M., 2012: Sulphate and nitrogen deposition and trend analyses. In: M. Lorenz & G. Becher (eds.), Technical Report of ICP Forests, Thünen Institute for World Forestry, Hamburg, p. 60-76.

Benham S. (2012) The effects of visitor trampling to the Kingley Vale yews.  Natural England 2012.

Older publications

Morecroft, M.D., Bealey, C.E., Beaumont, D.A., and Benham, S. (2009). The UK Environmental Change Network: Emerging trends in the composition of plant and animal communities and the physical environment. Biological Cons.142 2814-2832.

Mosello, R., Amoriello, T., Benham, S., Clarke, N., Derome, J., Derome, K., Genouw, G., Koenig, N., Orru, A., Tartari, G., Thimonier, A., Ulrich, E., and Lindross, A. (2008). Validation of chemical analyses of atmospheric deposition on forested sites in Europe : 2. DOC concentration as an estimator of organic ion charge. J. Limnol. 67(1): 1-14.

Benham. S. (2008). The Environmental Change Network at Alice Holt Research Forest (PDF-517K). Forestry Commission Research Note.

Crow, P. & Benham, S. et al. (2007). Woodland vegetation and its implications for archaeological survey using LiDAR. Forestry. 80 (3) pp 241-252.

Vanguelova, E.I., Benham, S. & Pitman R. (2007). Changes in rainfall, throughfall and soil solution chemistry in the Level II long term forest monitoring plots. In Derome, J., Lindroos, A.J. and Kilponen, T. (eds.). Scientific Seminar on Forest Condition Monitoring and Ecosystem Functioning in Northern Europe under the Forest Focus and ICP Forests Programmes, Vantaa 27. – 28.11.2007. ISBN 978-951-40-2088-9 (PDF); ISSN 1795-150X.

Vangulova, E., Barsoum, N., Benham, S., Broadmeadow, M., Nisbet, T. & Pitman, R. (2007). Ten years of intensive environmental monitoring in British forests (PDF-1295 KB). Forestry Commission Information Note.

Pitts, A., Benham, S., Straw, N.A. & Moffat, A.J. (2005). Evaluation of moth-trap data from Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire 1966-2001: possible effects of changing climate on Macrolepidoptera. Entomologist’s Gazette 56 237-247.

Houston, T.J., Durrant, D.W., & Benham, S.E. (2002). Sampling in a variable environment: selection of representative positions of throughfall collectors for volume and chemistry under three tree species in the UK., Forest Ecology and Management. 158, 1-8.

The Science at the heart of Alice Holt Forest. Forestry Commission publication, 2001.

The United Kingdom Environmental Change Network Annual Data Digest. 1996 onwards.

Dick, J., Andrews, C., Beaumont, D. A., Benham, S., Brooks, D. R., Corbett, S., Lloyd, D., McMillan, S., Monteith, D. T., Pilgrim, E. S., Rose, R., Scott, A., Scott, T., Smith, R. I., Taylor, C., Taylor, M., Turner, A. and Watson, H. (2011). A comparison of ecosystem services delivered by 11 long-term monitoring sites in the UK environmental change network. Environmetrics 22 (2). DOI: 10.1002/env.1069.