Mike Perks, BSc, MSc, PhD

Mike PerksProject Manager

Email: mike.perks@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Mobile: +44 (0)7887 998 769
Tel: +44 (0)1224 395216 (James Hutton Institute)
Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5973 (Forest Research)
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Mike joined Forest Research in 2001. Mike has worked for 20 years on tree response to climate. Previously Mike studied for a PhD in ‘Conifer Water Relations in Response to Drought’ at the University of Edinburgh (1994-1998), and postdoctoral research utilising ecophysiological approaches (particularly chlorophyll fluorescence) at University College Dublin (1998-2001). Mike has a Applied Ecology BSc from John Moores University (1992), and an MSc (by Research) from University of Edinburgh (1994).

Current role

Project Manager

Mike is a project leader in the Managing forest carbon and greenhouse gas balances programme which is providing the scientific evidence base on UK forest carbon stocks, improving our understanding of forest carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) balances, assessing how they will be affected by climate change, and recommending appropriate management and policy for the UK forestry sector, including new woodland creation. Mike applies understanding of tree ecophysiology and forest management practice in the assessment of forest operational impacts and afforestation benefits.

Current programmes

Managing forest carbon and greenhouse gas balances
Underpinned by field-based measurements, including eddy-covariance, and by modelling, the research is contributing to forest carbon and climate chance science and is disseminating information and developing tools on forestry carbon and GHG balances to the forestry sector.

Short rotation forestry
Mike leads the Forest Research contribution to The Ecosystem Land Use Modelling and Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial (ELUM) project, a £3.28m study commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), to produce a framework for predicting the sustainability of bioenergy deployment across the UK.

Native woodland expansion
Mike chairs the Climate & Carbon Working Group of the Scottish Forest Alliance. The Scottish Forest Alliance, a £10m BP led partnership, has undertaken to monitor forest uptake of CO2 on its sites for 200 years. Mike leads the development of the Alliance climate science in understanding the role of these new native woodlands in carbon sequestration.

Stump harvesting
Mike leads Forest Research investigations of the net impact of stump removal on net site carbon dynamics.

Forest risk
Mike is the Forest Research lead in a recent NERC Knowledge Exchange ‘Forest-Finance Risk Network’.  The project will develop a network aimed at providing a stable investment environment for forestry, through the assessment of risk to forest assets. The KE fellow is Susan Davies, who is co-hosted by Dr Genvieve Patenaude (PI, University of Edinburgh) and Forest Research.

Turbines & trees
Mike led the Forest Research contribution to the recent update of the Scottish Government guidance for “Calculating Carbon Savings from Wind Farms on Scottish Peatlands - A New Approach” and improvements to the assessment tool Carbon Implications Of Windfarms Located On Peatlands - Update Of The Scottish Government Carbon Calculator Tool. The project was led by Dr Jo Smith (University of Aberdeen) and Forest Research contributed expertise on forest management, forest carbon and wind flow aspects.

Affiliations and achievements

  • Chartered Biologist (CBiol)
  • Honorary Fellow, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
  • Member of Society of Experimental Biology (SEB)
  • PhD supervision: Bertin & Beauchamp (completed); Swain, Mackintosh, Leslie, Nair, Lonsdale (in progress). Six MSc supervised to date.

Research areas

  • Eddy-covariance assessments of forest management on carbon
  • Forestry management for mitigation benefit
  • Ecophysiological assessments of tree seedling quality and plant performance, water transport and the effects of drought on tree growth
  • Frost resistance and cold tolerance in trees
  • Management optimisation (incl. decision support system - Establishment Management information System, EMIS)
  • Seedling response under ATC (CCF) regimes
  • Impacts of nitrogen deposition on forest growth and sequestration
  • Short Rotation Forestry & Stump Harvesting
  • Turbines and trees: calculating net site benefit in forestry settings
  • Coupling remote sensing and models for forest biomass estimation

Main recent publications

Morison, J., Matthews, R., Miller, G., Perks, M., Randle, T., Vanguelova, E., White, M. and Yamulki, S. (2012). Understanding the carbon and greenhouse gas balance of forests in Britain (PDF-7422K). Forestry Commission Research Report 18. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. i–vi + 1–149 pp.

Leslie, A.D., Mencuccini, M. & Perks, M.P. (2011). The potential for Eucalyptus as a wood fuel in the UK. Applied Energy, 89, 176-182.

Bertin S., Palmroth, S., Kim, H.S., Perks, M.P., Mencuccini, M. & Oren, R. (2011). Modelling understorey light for seedling regeneration in continuous cover forestry canopies. Forestry, 4, 397-410.

Mason, W.L. & Perks, M. (2011). Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) forests in Atlantic Europe: forest management approach and projected climate change. Scan. J. For. Res. 26, 72-81.

Guerierri, R., Mencuccini, M., Sheppard, L.J., Saurer, M., Perks, M.P., Levy, P., Sutton, M.A., Borghetti, M. & Grace, J. (2011). The legacy of enhanced N and S deposition as revealed by the combined analysis of δ13C, δ18O and δ15N in tree rings. Global Change Biology 17, 1946-1962.

Harper, R.C., O'Reilly, C. and Perks, M. (2010). Rapidly detecting the effects of warm storage stress on Douglas fir seedlings. Plant Biosystems, 144: 769-777.

Minunno, F., Xenakis, G., Perks, M.P. & Mencuccini, M. (2010). Calibration and validation of a simplified process-based model for the prediction of the carbon balance of Scottish Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) plantations. Canadian Journal Forest Research, 40, 2411-2426.

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

Swain E.Y., Perks, M.P., Vanguelova, E.V. & Abbot, G.D. (2010). Carbon stocks and phenolic distributions in peaty gley soils afforested with Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis). Organic Geochemistry, 41, 1022-1025.

Butler, A.J., Barbier, N., Cermak, J., Koller, J., Thornily, C. McEvoy, C., Nicoll, B., Perks, M.P. Grace, J. & Meir, P. (2010). Estimates and relationships between aboveground and belowground resource exchange surface areas in a Sitka spruce managed forest. Tree Physiology 30:705-714.

Mason, W.L., Nicoll, B.C., & Perks, M.P. (2009) Mitigation potential of sustainably managed forests. In: Read, D.J., Freer-Smith, P.H., Morsion, J.I.L, Hanley, N., West, C.C., and Snowdon, P. (eds.). Combating Climate Change – a role for UK forests: main report. The Stationery Office, London. pp 100-118.

Balk, P.A., Brønnum, P., Konings, M.C.J.M., Perks, M., Stattin, E, van Wordragen, M.F. and van der Geest, A. (Lonneke) H. M. (2007). Innovative Cold Tolerance Test for Conifer Seedlings. USDA Forest Service Proceedings, p9-14.

Perks, M.P., Harrison, A.J. & Bathgate, S.J. (2006). Integrating establishment practice and plant quality. In: MacLennan, L and Fennessey, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the COFORD conference ‘Plant Quality – A Key to Success in Forest Establishment’, ISBN 1-902696-5-4, p.47-54.

Perks, M.P., Harrison, A.J. & Bathgate, S.J. (2006). Establishment Management Information System [EMIS]: delivering good practice advice on tree establishment in the uplands of Britain. In: Reynolds, K.M., Ray, D and Thomson, A.J. (eds.) Sustainable forestry: from monitoring and modelling to knowledge management and policy science, CABI International, ISBN 978-1-84593-1742, p412-424.

Joosen, R.V.L., Lammers, M., Balk, P.A., Brønnum, P., Konings, M.C.J.M., Perks, M., Stattin, E, van Wordragen, M.F. and van der Geest, A. (Lonneke) H. M. (2006). Correlating gene expression to physiological parameters and environmental conditions during cold acclimation of Pinus sylvestris, identification of molecular markers using cDNA microarrays. Tree Physiology 26:1297–1313. 

Perks, M.P., Osborne, B.A. & Mitchell, D.T. (2004). Rapid predictions of cold tolerance in Douglas-fir seedlings using chlorophyll fluorescence after freezing.  New Forests 28, 49-62.

Perks, M.P., Irvine, J. & Grace, J. (2004).  Xylem acoustic signals from mature Pinus sylvestris during an extended drought. Annals of Forest Science 61, 1-8.

Osborne, B.A., Black, K., Lanigan, G., Perks, M. & Clabby, G. (2003). Survival on the exposed limestone: photosynthesis and water relations of three co-occurring plant species. Biology & Environment - Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 103B, 125-137.

Perks, M.P., Irvine, J. & Grace, J. (2002). Stomatal conductance and xylem sap abscisic acid (ABA) in mature Scots pine during a gradually imposed drought.  Tree Physiology 22, 887-883.

Perks, M.P., Irvine, J. & Grace, J. (2002). Stomatal conductance and xylem sap abscisic acid (ABA) in mature Scots pine during a gradually imposed drought.  Tree Physiology 22, 887-883.

Perks, M.P., Monaghan, S.M., O’Reilly, C., Osborne, B.A. & Mitchell, D.T. (2001). Chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics, performance and survival of freshly lifted and cold stored Douglas fir seedlings. Annals of Forest Science 3, 225-235.

Byrne, K.A. & Perks, M.P. (2000).  Possibilities for carbon sequestration in Irish forests.  Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ. 4 (4),  300-302

Perks, M.P. & Ennos, R.A. (1999). Analysis of Genetic Variation for Quantitative Charactes between and within four Native Populations of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). Botanical Journal of Scotland 51, 103-110.

Irvine, J., Perks, M.P., Magnani, F. & Grace, J. (1998). The response of Pinus sylvestris to drought: stomatal control of transpiration and hydraulic conductance. Tree Physiology 18, 393-402.

Perks, M.P.& McKay, H.M. (1997). Morphological and physiological differences in Scots pine seedlings of six seed origins. Forestry 70, 223-232. 

Ennos, R.A., Sinclair, W.T. & Perks, M.P. (1997). Genetic Insights into the Evolution of Scots pine, (Pinus sylvestris L.), in Scotland. Botanical Journal of Scotland 49, 257-265.

Published reports

Smith, J.U., Perks, M.P. Gardiner, B.G., Graves, P., Nayak, D.R., Xenakis, G., Waldern, S., Drew, S., Miller, D., Nolan, A., Morris, J. & Smith, P. S. Waldron5, S. Drew (2011).  Carbon Implications Of Windfarms Located On Peatlands - Update Of The Scottish Government Carbon Calculator Tool. 69p.

Perks, M.P., Gardiner, B.A. & Smith, J.U. (2011). Balancing turbine and woodland benefits. Forestry & Timber News, p18-19.

Perks, M.P., Harrison, A., McKay, H.M. and Morgan J.L. (2006). An Update on Nursery Propagation and Establishment Best Practice for Larch in Britain (PDF-119K). Forestry Commission Information Note 80.

Perks M., Smith S. and McEvoy C. (2005). Development of Multiple Leaders in Sitka Spruce and Japanese Larch Following Outplanting (PDF-158K).  Forestry Commission Information Note 66.