The Land Use and Ecosystem Services Research Group (LUES) research aims to increase our understanding of how land use influences the delivery of a diverse range of ecosystem services (ES), and to help policymakers, forest managers and planners understand and assess how the specific placement and management of woodlands affects ES delivery at various scales. Ecosystem services include the goods and services from the ecosystems in nature that provide improved well-being and livelihoods.
Group staff are based in Scotland at Northern Research Station near Edinburgh.
Duncan Ray – Head of LUES Research Group
Duncan manages the science programme Land Use and Ecosystem Services (LUES). The Ecosystem Services Programme has a cross-cutting role requiring close collaborative work with a range of researchers in Forest Research, in the devolved parts of the Forestry Commission and with universities in the UK, Europe and further afield.
Russell Anderson – Research Scientist
Russell specialises in researching the consequences of afforesting peat land for the ecosystem goods and services it can provide and solutions for restoring the habitats. He works with the national forestry policy teams on material and tools to support decisions on appropriate future land use for afforested peatbogs.
Shelley Barbour – Spatial Analyst
Shelley is developing methods for mapping small landscape features (e.g. trees and shrubs) and creating land cover/use maps using earth observation data and object based image analysis. This improvement in the detail, accuracy and precisions of data inputs is enhancing FR’s ability to model and map ecosystem service provision, species distributions and habitat connectivity. She is also exploring the wider applicability of remote sensing data for deriving information on forests and their management using this technology to assess vertical forest structure in relation to capercaillie habitat and forest management practices.
Dr Chloe Bellamy – Spatial Scientist
Chloe’s research focuses on using spatial data to better understand and communicate the value of woodlands and other types of greenspace to people and wildlife. Many of the projects she works on have an applied focus, providing data, information and tools to practitioners making decisions on the ground and at more strategic levels. She has a background in landscape ecology, zoology and spatial analysis, with a PhD on habitat suitability modelling for UK bats from the University of Leeds.
Dr Darren Moseley – Spatial Ecologist
Darren is researching how the spatial arrangement of woodlands and other green spaces can be better planned through consideration of the influences on decision-making. He works closely with Forest Research’s social and economic research group on aspects that affect decision-making on land-use choices, particularly focussing on ecosystem services, woodland expansion, and green infrastructure.
Dr Michal Petr – Climate Change Researcher
Michal’s interdisciplinary research work focuses on a better understanding of climate change risks related to forest ecosystem services, and the influence of uncertainty on forest planning and decision-making in general. Through his research he investigates, among others, the feasibility of climate change adaptation options for forestry, barriers to climate change adaptation, and quantifies drought risk impacts on the major tree species. He did his interdisciplinary PhD focusing on climate change risks and related uncertainties to forest planning in the GB.
Andrew Rattey – Spatial Analyst
Andrew is working on the collection, interpretation and analysis of spatial data to inform ecosystem service assessments, with a particular focus on the Strathard project. He has a background in Ecology and GIS having completed an MSc in both subjects, and has five years’ work experience as a consultant ecologist.
Louise Sing - Spatial Scientist
Louise is exploring the use of ecosystem services for delivering evidence on the effects of alternative forest management and expansion strategies for a range of priority ecosystem services. Her research is focused on the Lochaber Forest District, and contributes to a PhD that she is undertaking at the University of Edinburgh.
Dr Alexander van der Jagt – Social Scientist
Alexander van der Jagt provides social science expertise on topics related to urban ecosystem services and resilience to the LUES group. His main involvement is in the EU FP7 GREEN SURGE project, an interdisciplinary programme of research delivering knowledge and practical tools to improve the planning and governance of urban green spaces. Alexander is an environmental psychologist with a PhD in Psychology. He has a broad research interest in human-environment studies, having published papers on the health and well-being effects of natural and built environments, landscape experience and urban forest governance.
Dr Kevin Watts – Landscape Ecologist
Kevin is currently working on the development and application of landscape ecology tools, including habitat networks, to support forest/land managers to effectively target conservation action and evaluate the impact of landscape change on biodiversity. He is also working on a number of species-based studies, including movement studies and landscape genetics, to improve the underpinning scientific evidence base.
The Land Use and Ecosystem Services Research Group works in collaboration with a range of institutions to develop post-graduate studentships, including PhDs, EngDs and MSc students.
Vanessa Burton is undertaking a PhD at the University of Edinburgh ‘Understanding the influences of land ownership on benefits from woodlands expansion’.
Tom Sloan’s research project (2016 – 2019) based at the University of York is ‘Quantifying carbon accumulation and loss in afforested peat lands’.