Nigel Straw, BSc, PhD, FRES

Project Leader

Nigel Straw


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5739
Fax: +44 (0)1420 23653

Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH

Nigel Straw graduated from Imperial College, London, in 1982 and attained a PhD in insect ecology from the University of Cambridge in 1987. He joined Forest Research in 1989 as the programme leader on the impact of insects on forest trees, focussing in particular on the effects of green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum) on Sitka spruce. Current research (2006-2011) includes field studies in Wales on the impact and diversity of insects in alternative silvicultural systems, and projects monitoring the spread and impact of new invasive species.

Current role

Project Leader

Current programmes

Impact of insects on tree growth
Project Manager

Impact of pests and pathogens under changing management
Project Manager

Work under the above programmes comprises long-term field studies and associated experiments designed to quantify the effects of defoliation by insects on forest trees, and variation in insect abundance and diversity in forest stands representative of alternative silvicultural systems.

Research areas

  • Impact and diversity of insects in alternative silvicultural systems
  • Green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum)
  • Impact of pine looper moth (Bupalus piniaria) on Scots pine
  • Horse chestnut leafminer (Cameraria ohridella)
  • Ecology and impact of Phyllobius weevils

Main recent publications

Straw, N., Williams, D., Kulinich, O. & Gninenko, Y. (2013) Distribution, impact and rate of spread of emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in the Moscow region of Russia. Forestry 86, 515–522.

Straw, N., Williams, D.T., Townsend, M., Wilkinson, A.S., Mullins, A. (2013) Monitoring oak processionary moth Thaumetopoea processionea L. using pheromone traps: the influence of pheromone lure source, trap design and height above the ground on capture rates. Agricultural & Forest Entomology 126-134 DOI: 10.1111/afe.2013.15.issue-3/issuetoc

D’Costa, L, Koricheva, K., Straw,N., Simmonds, M.S.J. (2013) Oviposition patterns and larval damage by the invasive horse-chestnut leaf miner Cameraria ohridella on different species of Aesculus. Ecological Entomology 456-462 DOI: 10.1111/een.2013.38.issue-5/issuetoc

Straw, N.A., Fielding, N., Green, G., Price, J. and Williams, D. (2011). Defoliation and growth relationships for mid-rotation Sitka spruce attacked by the green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker) (Homoptera: Aphididae). Forest Ecology and Management 262, 1223–1235.

Pocock, M., Evans, D., Straw, N. and Polaszek, A. (2011). The horse chestnut leaf miner and its parasitoids. British Wildlife 22, 305-313.

Straw, N.A., Williams, D.T. and Green, G. (2011). Influence of sticky trap colour and height above ground on capture of alate Elatobium abietinum (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in Sitka Spruce plantations. Environmental Entomology 40, 120–125.

Billiald, H.E., Straw, N.A. and Stewart, A.J.A. (2010). Adult fecundity, host plant preferences, field activity and parasitism in the leaf weevil Phyllobius pyri (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 100, 303–314.

Tilbury, C., Williams, D., Jukes, M. and Straw, N. (2010). The re-establishment of gypsy moth Lymantria dispar (Linn.) in the UK. Atropos 40, 36–42.

Bertin, S., Perks, M.P., Straw, N., Bertin, J.M. and Mencuccini, M. (2010). Green spruce aphid infestations cause larger growth reductions to Sitka spruce under shade. Tree Physiology 30, 1403–1414.

Straw, N.A., Timms, J.E.L. and Leather, S.R. (2009). Variation in the abundance of invertebrate predators of the green spruce aphid Elatobium abietinum (Walker) (Homoptera: Aphididae) along an altitudinal transect. Forest Ecology and Management 258, 1–10.

Timms, J.E., Oliver, T.H., Straw, N.A. and Leather, S.R. (2008). The effects of host plant on the coccinellid functional response: Is the conifer specialist Aphidecta obliterata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) better adapted to spruce than the generalist Adalia bipunctata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)? Biological Control 47, 273–281.

Straw, N.A., Green, G. and Williams, D.T. (2007). Dieback and recovery in poplar and attack by the hornet clearwing moth, Sesia apiformis (Clerck) (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 97, 555–567.

Straw, N.A., Fielding, N.J., Green, G. and Price, J. (2006). Seasonal changes in the distribution of green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker) (Homoptera: Aphididae) in the canopy of Sitka spruce. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 8: 1–15.

Straw, N.A. and Tubby, I. (2006). Tree mortality associated with the aphid Pterocomma populeum Kalt. in a young poplar plantation. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 100: 43–52.

Straw, N.A. and Tilbury, C. (2006). Host plants of the horse-chestnut leaf-miner (Cameraria ohridella), and the rapid spread of the moth in the UK 2002-2005. Arboricultural Journal 29: 83–99.

Straw, N.A., Fielding, N.J., Green, G. and Price, J. (2005). Defoliation and growth loss in young Sitka spruce following repeated attack by the green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker). Forest Ecology and Management 213: 349–368.

Williams, D.T., Straw, N. A. and Day, K.R. (2005). Performance of the green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker), on previously defoliated Sitka spruce. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 7: 95-105

Straw, N.A. and Bellett-Travers, M. (2004). Impact and management of the horse chestnut leaf-miner, (Cameraria ohridella). Arboricultural Journal 28: 67-83

Williams, D.T., Straw, N. A. and Day, K.R. (2003). Defoliation of Sitka spruce by the European spruce sawfly, Gilpinia hercyniae (Hartig): a retrospective analysis using the needle trace method. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 5: 235-245.

Armour, H., Straw, N. and Day, K. (2003). Interactions between growth, herbivory and long-term foliar dynamics of Scots pine. Trees - Structure and Function 17: 70-80.

Straw, N.A., Armour, H. and Day, K. (2002). The financial costs of defoliation of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) by pine looper moth (Bupalus piniaria L.). Forestry 75: 525-536.

Straw, N.A., Fielding, N.J., Green, G. and Price, J. (2002). The impact of green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker), on the growth of young Sitka spruce in Hafren Forest, Wales: delayed effects on needle size limit wood production. Forest Ecology and Management 157: 267-283.

Straw, N.A. (2002). The impact of green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum (Walker)) on young and mature spruce plantations. In: Protection of the World’s Forests from Insect Pests: Advances in Research, edited by Alfaro, R., Day, K., Salom, S., Nair, K.S.S., Evans, H., Liebhold, A., Lieutier, F., Wagner, M., Futai, K. and Suzuki, K., pp 29-36. IUFRO World Series, Vol. 11. IUFRO Secretariat, Vienna.

Straw, N.A. and Green, G. (2001). Interactions between green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker), and Norway and Sitka spruce under high and low nutrient conditions. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 3: 263-274.

Arundell, J.C. and Straw, N.A. (2001). Hornet clearwing moth (Sesia apiformis [Clerck]) and dieback of poplars in eastern England. Arboricultural Journal 25(3): 235-253.

Evans, H.F., Straw, N.A. and Watt, A.D. (2001). Climate change: implications for forest insect pests. In: Climate Change: Impacts on UK Forests, edited by Broadmeadow, M., pp.99-118. Forestry Commission Bulletin 125. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Straw, N.A., Fielding, N.J., Green, G. and Price, J. (2000). The impact of green spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker), and root aphids on the growth of young Sitka spruce in Hafren Forest, Wales: effect on height, diameter and volume. Forest Ecology and Management 134: 97-109.