Prof. Peter Freer-Smith, BSc, PhD, DSc

Departmental Chief Scientist

Peter Freer-Smith


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5648
Fax: +44 (0)1420 23653

Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH

Prof. Peter Freer-Smith studied for his first degree at Stirling University gaining a first class degree in Biological Sciences. His PhD was on the Impacts of Air Pollutants on Trees. Both his PhD and DSc are awarded by the University of Lancaster. Peter did two periods of post-doctoral research at Lancaster before moving to a lecturer’s post at the University of Ulster. He joined the Forestry Commission in 1987. In June 2005 Peter was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton. He was appointed Forestry Commission Chief Scientist in 2009.

Current role

Chief Scientist for Forest Research and Forestry Commission

Ensures that Forest Research provides the scientific knowledge and expertise required to achieve sustainable forest management. The Research Director ensures that advice to policy makers and practitioners is based on good scientific understanding and sound research and contributes to the formulation and implementation of the Forestry Commission’s policies and objectives. Additional responsibilities include Head of Station at Alice Holt and representing Forest Research on the Forestry Commission Research Management Board.

Affiliations and achievements

  • Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton
  • Member of Institute of Chartered Foresters.

Research areas

  • Protect Britain’s trees from pests, diseases and threats
  • Increase the competitiveness of Britain’s forest resources
  • Conserve and improve the biodiversity, landscape and cultural heritage of forests and woodlands
  • Understand the effects of forests and forestry activities on the environment, increase benefits and reduce adverse impacts