NRS Forest Science Seminars 2016/17

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Past Seminars

28th April 2017 - CANCELLED
Julia Urquhart – Imperial College London
“Are the public concerned about tree health risks? A Q Methodology study of lay perceptions of Ash dieback and Oak processionary moth”

23rd May 2017 CANCELLED
John Healey/Andy Smith – Bangor University
 “Multi-Land: Enhancing Productivity and Ecosystem Service Resilience in Multifunctional Landscapes”.

24th March 2017

Catherine Ward Thompson – University of Edinburgh
“Woods and Wellbeing: recent evidence on mental health and improved access to natural environments”

This talk will present some early findings from our NIHR Public Health Research study of the WIAT programme and links to mental health, in the context of a wider range of evidence on environmental interventions and benefits for health and wellbeing.

24th February 2017

Kate Heal – University of Edinburgh
“Wind farms on peatlands - the hydrochemistry story”

The effects of wind farm activities (including forest felling) on peatland have been quantified on carbon and nutrient loading into streams. Our results indicate that dissolved organic carbon and phosphorus fluxes increase temporarily downstream after development, and that silt management measures may be an effective mitigation measure

27th January 2017

Bruce Osborne – University College Dublin
“Impact of Drying and Re-Wetting Events on Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Forests and Grasslands in a Drier Future: The ‘Birch Effect’ Revisited”

It is well known that short rainfall/re-wetting events can induce a pulse of mineralisation and associated emissions of carbon dioxide, often termed the ‘Birch-Effect’, after its discoverer, Harry Birch. Although this is believed to have a potentially significant impact on annual greenhouse gas budgets, this has rarely been quantified and the focus has generally been on its significance in arid or semi-arid ecosystems. Whilst there is now an extensive body of results for CO2 , there is much less information on the effect of re-wetting on the other two major greenhouse gases, N2O and CH4 or how land use might impact on the ‘Birch-Effect’.
In this talk I will report on the effect of a range of in situ simulated rainfall studies on the emissions of CO2, N2O and CH4 from different land uses under cool-temperate conditions. Using model projections, based on rainfall occurrence/frequency and initial soil moisture content, I will assess the likely impact on the annual CO2 budget of a coastal grassland ecosystem. Whilst the effect of re-wetting on the CO2 budget might currently be small under temperate conditions, future emissions will depend critically on the extent of soil drying and the frequency and timing of any episodic rainfall events.

25th November 2016

Rob Wilson – University of St Andrews
“The Dendrochronology of Scot’s pine in Scotland”

Dendrochronology, in its broadest definition, is the science of dating tree-rings and interpreting the environmental information within them. Over the last 10 years, my group has used dendrochronological methods to study Scots pine trees from around Scotland with the main aim of using tree-ring series to reconstruct past climate. My talk will detail this research journey from initial ideas, the early exciting heady days of finding preserved macro-fossil pine material from multiple periods over the last 8000 years, developing a Scottish-wide pine tree-ring network and the growing realisation that many of the semi-natural pine woodlands may not be as “natural” as we would like to think. The dynamics and age structure of many current pine woodlands still reverberate from disturbance related to substantial timber clearance over at least the last 4 centuries. Not only does this historical anthropogenic disturbance impact the potential climate story in these tree archives but the ramifications of these past timber cutting events will still influence these woodlands for many decades to come. This is a story of a palaeoclimatologist trying to grapple with unforeseen ecological problems which has ultimately led to a deeper understanding of woodland dynamical response to disturbance. The talk will finish detailing how continued dendrochronological research could lead to improved strategies for managing and expanding the Scottish pine woodlands over the coming decades.

28th October 2016

Nick Hanley – University of St Andrews
“Estimating the preferences of the general public and forest managers for disease control options”
Discussing choice experiments with the general UK public and with woodland owners/managers on the issue of new invasive diseases. Essentially, in the former case, we quantify what the public are willing to pay for forest disease control; whilst in the latter we look at which factors affect the willingness of forest managers to engage in disease control.


For any additional information on the seminars, please contact the Seminar Committee.




OS Grid ref: NT2489763985
Postcode: EH25 9SY

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