James Morison, BSc, PhD

Programme Group Manager

James Morison


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5690
Fax: +44 (0)1420 520180

Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH

James joined Forest Research in January 2008. He has worked for over 30 years on effects of climate change on plants, and has a research background in plant environmental biology. He came from a Readership at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1995-2007) after lecturing in Agricultural Meteorology at the University of Reading (1985-1994). He did post-doctoral research in CSIRO in Canberra on the effect of high CO2 on plant growth (1981-1985). His BSc was in Ecology from Lancaster University (1977), and his PhD was from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Edinburgh (1981).

Current role

Programme Group Manager

Current programmes

Leads the Managing Forest Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Balances programme which is providing the scientific evidence base on UK forest carbon stocks, improving our understanding of forest carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) balances, assessing how they will be affected by climate change, and recommending appropriate management and policy for the UK forestry sector, including on woodland creation, and the contribution of forest products and woodfuel. Underpinned by field-based measurements and by modelling, the research is contributing to forest carbon and climate chance science and is disseminating information and developing tools on forestry carbon and GHG balances to the forestry sector including policy makers, stakeholders and forest managers.

Other current programmes

  • Climate change adaptation
    This multi-disciplinary research programme is assisting the development of adaptive forest management in UK forestry by: developing tools for risk assessment using climate change scenarios to inform adaptation, and to focus adaptation action where it is most needed, and providing recommendations and guidance for adaptation measures based on expert information and research findings trialled and examined at key case study sites.
  • Climate change risk assessment (CCRA)
    We are providing the forestry sector evidence for this Defra funded project. The climate change risk assessment will provide evidence and analysis which will enable all UK Administrations to understand the level of risks posed by climate change, compare the risks of a changing climate with other pressures on the Government, prioritise adaptation policy geographically and by sector and assess the costs and benefits of adaptation actions and support the case for resources for these.
  • Management of Multifunctional Forests (MultiFor)
    This four year project part funded by Interreg IV A 2 is a partnership of research organisations and local authorities from northern France and southern England to understand the changes in forest ecosystems and their many important socio-economic and biological functions caused by climate change and to raise awareness of possible adaptation measures that can be taken by forest managers.
  • OneOak project 

Affiliations and achievements

  • Member of Royal Meteorological Society
  • Member of Society for Experimental Biology
  • Member of British Ecological Society
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Experimental Botany.

Research areas

  • Trees, woodlands and forests and climate change
  • Plant environmental physiology, including plant response to stress, particularly water and temperature
  • Measurement and modelling of carbon uptake and water use by trees and plant control of water loss and gas uptake
  • Leaf and forest canopy function, including imaging techniques for assessment of forest response to stress
  • Forest meteorology and microclimate, including exchanges of gases and energy between atmosphere and forest.

Recent publications

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., Taylor, G. (2014) The ELUM Project: Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial. Biofuels 5:2 111-116.

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., 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(3): 220-239. Article first published online: 3 DEC 2013, DOI: 10.1002/fes3.39

Bechtold, U., Albihlal, W.S., Lawson, T., Fryer, M.J., Sparrow, P.A.C., Richard, F., Persad, R.,  Bowden, L., Hickman, R., Martin, C., Beynon, J. L., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Baker, N. R., Morison, J.I.L., Schöffl, F., Ott, S. & Mullineaux, P.M. (2013). Arabidopsis HEAT SHOCK TRANSCRIPTION FACTORA1b overexpression enhances water productivity, resistance to drought, and infection. Journal Experimental Botany 64: 3467-3481 doi:10.1093/jxb/ert185

Vanguelova E.I., Nisbet T.R., Moffat A.J., Broadmeadow S., Sanders, T.G.M. &  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. & 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., 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.

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.

Morison, J.I.L., Vanguelova, E., Broadmeadow, S., Perks, M., Yamulki, S. & 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.

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

Stokes V.J., Morecroft M.D. & 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.

Read,  D.J.,  Freer-Smith,  P.H.,  Morison,  J.I.L.,  Hanley,  N.,  West,  C.C.  and  Snowdon.  P.  (2009).   (eds.) Combating  climate  change – a  role  for  UK  forests.   An  assessment  of  the  potential  of  the  UK’s  trees  and  woodlands  to  mitigate  and  adapt  to  climate  change. 222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

West, C.C. & Morison, J.I.L. (2009). Climate trends and projections. Chapter 3 in Read,  D.J.,  et al. eds. Combating  climate  change  –  a  role  for  UK  forests.  222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

Broadmeadow M.S.J., Morecroft M.D. & Morison J.I.L. (2009). Observed impacts of climate change on UK Forests to date. Chapter 4 in Read,  D.J.,  et al. eds. Combating  climate  change  –  a  role  for  UK  forests.   222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

Morecroft M.D., Stokes V.J., Taylor M.E. & Morison J.I.L. (2008).  Effects of climate and management history on the distribution and growth of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) in a southern British woodland in comparison to native competitors.  Forestry 81: 59-74.

Morison, J.I.L., Baker, N.R., Mullineaux, P.M. & Davies W.J. (2008).  Improving water use in crop production. Commissioned Review for Special Issue on Sustainability in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. 363(1491): 639-658.

Morison, J.I.L., Lawson, T., & Cornic, G. (2007). Lateral CO2 diffusion inside dicotyledonous leaves can be substantial: quantification in different light intensities. Plant Physiology 145: 680-690.

Morison, J.I.L. & Lawson, T. (2007). Does lateral CO2 diffusion in leaves matter ? Commissioned Review for Special Issue on Photosynthesis of Plant, Cell & Environment, 30: 1072-1085.

Morison, J.I.L & Morecroft, M.D. (2006). (editors) Plant Growth and Climate Change. Multichapter volume in the Biological Sciences Series, Blackwell Publishing, 213pp.

Viner, D., Morison, J.I.L. & Wallace, C. (2006). Recent and future climate change and their implications for plant growth. Chapter 1 in Morison J.I.L. & Morecroft M.D. (editors) Plant Growth and Climate Change, Blackwell Publishing. 213pp.

Stokes, V.J., Morecroft, M.D. & Morison, J.I.L. (2006). Boundary layer conductance for contrasting leaf shapes in a deciduous broadleaved canopy. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 139: 40-54.

Morison, J.I.L., Gallouët, E.,  Lawson, T., Cornic, G., Herbin, R.  & Baker, N.R. (2005) Lateral diffusion of CO2 in leaves is not sufficient to support photosynthesis. Plant Physiology 139: 254-266.

Lawson, T. & Morison, J.I.L. (2004). Stomatal function and physiology. Chapter 12 in The Evolution of Plant Physiology, eds A.R. Hemsley & I. Poole, Linnean Society Symposium Series no. 21, pp. 217-242, Elsevier.

Morecroft, M.D., Stokes, V.J. & Morison, J.I.L. (2003). Seasonal changes in the photosynthetic capacity of canopy oak (Quercus robur) leaves: the impact of slow development on annual carbon uptake. Intl. J. of Biometeorology 47: 221-226.

Lawson, T. Oxborough, K., Morison, J.I.L., & Baker, N.R. (2002). Responses of photosynthetic electron transport in stomatal guard cells and mesophyll cells in intact leaves to light, CO2 and humidity. Plant Physiology 128: 52-62.

Lodge, R.J., Dijkstra, P., Drake, B.G. &  Morison, J.I.L. (2001). Stomatal acclimation to increased CO2 concentration in a Florida scrub oak species Quercus myrtifolia Willd. Plant, Cell & Environment 24: 77-88.

Morison, J.I.L., Piedade, M.T.F, Müller, E., Long, S.P., Junk, W.J. & Jones, M.B. (2000). Very high productivity of the C4 aquatic grass Echinochloa polystachya in the Amazonian floodplain confirmed by net ecosystem CO2 flux measurements. Oecologia 125: 400-411.