Helen McKay, BSc, PhD, FICFor, CEnv

Head of Centre, Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change

Helen McKay

Email: helen.mckay@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5959
Mobile:  07917 558428
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Address:
Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Roslin
Midlothian EH25 9SY
UK

Helen McKay first joined Forest Research in 1988 as a plant physiologist. From 2000-2007, she was a specialist advisor and commissioned research in forest operations, the physical environment, growth and yield models, remote sensing and bio-energy.  In 2007, Helen returned to Forest Research and now leads the Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change. She is a member of the Forest Research Executive Board.

Current role

Head of Centre
Helen provides scientific and strategic leadership to the Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change which comprises ~50 staff and 5 Science Groups. The total income is £4.4 million of which almost 30 % is non-core income. She has led and completed many large multi-disciplinary projects and has acquired a particular skill in developing and drafting funding bids.

Since 2003, Helen has been an editor of ‘Forestry: An international journal of forest research’ and uses the skills acquired over the years to mentor FR staff in writing peer-reviewed scientific papers. 

Since 2016, she has led the Forest Research Culture Working Group to explore the cultures operating across staff groups and make recommendations that will ensure a fair and consistent FR culture.

Helen provides a key point of contact between FR staff and Information Services to improve liaison between users and service providers. This has included making the case for specialist computers and software when the standard provision becomes a business constraint.

Current projects

  • Earth Observation Data Integration Pilot, Research Project 9 – Innovative application of remote sensing to forestry management and monitoring
  • Leader and Manager, and principal contact to Project Officer
  • Extension to the Establishment Management Information System to include productive broadleaves in Scotland
  • Financial manager

Affiliations and responsibilities

  • Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Environmentalists
  • Trustee of the Scottish Forestry Trust
  • Member of the Projects Committee of the Scottish Forestry Trust
  • Editor of Forestry: An international journal of forest research
  • Board member of Forestry Publications Ltd

Research areas

  • Remote sensing
  • Woodfuel resource assessments
  • Woodfuel use
  • Carbon savings
  • Harvesting disturbance
  • Short rotation forestry
  • Nutritional sustainability

Main recent publications and knowledge exchange activities

Peer reviewed journal articles

W.L. Mason, H. M. McKay, A. Weatherall, T. Connolly, and A.J. Harrison 2012. The effects of whole-tree harvesting on three sites in upland Britain on the growth of Sitka spruce over ten years. Forestry 85, 111-123

H.M. McKay, B. Hudson, R. Carr, C. Beck, S. Ward, H. Snowling, and J. Pendlebury 2010. Woodfuel consumption in Scotland 2005-8. Biomass and Bioenergy 34, 1017-1027

FC and FR publications including official statistics

McKay, H. (ed.) 2011. Short Rotation Forestry: review of growth and environmental impacts. Forest Research Monograph, 2, Forest Research, Surrey, 212pp.

McKay, H. Introduction. In Short Rotation Forestry: review of growth and environmental impacts. Forest Research Monograph, 2, Forest Research, Surrey, p9-11

Contract and project reports

Helen McKay, Steve Croxton, Geoff Hogan, Michael Wall, Susan Weatherstone, Tom Connolly, Will Quick, Jack Forster. 2017. Characterisation of Biomass Feedstocks: Synthesis report of Phase 1 and Phase 2. Report to the Energy Technologies Institute, pp 120.

Helen McKay, Steve Croxton, Geoff Hogan, Michael Wall, Susan Weatherstone, Tom Connolly, Will Quick, Jack Forster. 2017. Characterisation of Biomass Feedstocks: Final report on investigations into the effect of harvest time and variety on willow SRC and the effect of harvest time and storage method on Miscanthus quality. Report to the Energy Technologies Institute pp 87.

Michael Wall, Geoff Hogan, Stephen Bathgate, Helen McKay, and Russell Anderson. 2017. Biomass options for Pen y Cymoedd windfarm. TD JR 167. Report to Natural Resources Wales, pp 87.

Juan Suárez, Jacqueline Rosette, Iain Bye, Ramesh Ningthoujam, Heiko Baltzer, Helen McKay. 2017. Earth Observation Data Integration Pilot, Research Project 9 – Innovative application of remote sensing to forestry management and monitoring. Report to Defra, pp141.

Helen McKay, Steve Croxton, Geoff Hogan, Michael Wall, Susan Weatherstone, Tom Connolly, Will Quick, Jack Forster. 2016. Characterisation of Biomass Feedstocks: Phase 1 report. Report to the Energy Technologies Institute, pp 25.

H McKay and A Harrison. 2011. Best practice guidelines for growing short rotation forests as biomass crops in England. Report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 28pp

H McKay, N Dandy, M White and I Tubby. 2011. Quantifying the woodfuel potential and carbon stock of farm woodlands in England. Report to Forestry Commission England

A J Moffat, C P Quine and H McKay. 2010. The state of the natural environment.  Land use and the future of forestry. Final Project Report, Government Office for Science, London.

Trade journal and newsletter articles

McKay, H.M. and Harrison, A. 2014. Early results positive for short rotation forestry trial. Forestry and Timber News, June 2014, 13-14
Scientific conferences: presentations or posters

Casella, E., Raumonen, P., Rombourg, R., Hetroy-Weeler, F., and McKay, H 2016. A comprehensive sensitivity analysis of forest tree mock-up reconstruction methods from phase-shift based LiDAR point-cloud data. International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications, FSPMA, Qingdao, China, November 2016.

Casella E., Disney M.,  Morison J. and McKay H.  2013. tLiDAR methodologies can overcome limitations in estimating forest canopy LAI from conventional hemispherical photograph analyses.

Casella E., Morison J.I.L. & McKay H. 2010 Modelling forest canopy gap fraction from terrestrial laser scanning: trade-off between speed and quality. Mathematical Modelling of Plant Development workshop, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University, September 2010