James Morison, BSc, PhD

Science Group Leader

James Morison

Email: james.morison@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5600
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5690
Fax: +44 (0)1420 520180

Forest Research
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH

James joined Forest Research in January 2008. He has worked for over 30 years on effects of climate change on plants, and has a research background in plant environmental biology. He came from a Readership at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1995-2007) after lecturing in Agricultural Meteorology at the University of Reading (1985-1994). He did post-doctoral research in CSIRO in Canberra on the effect of high CO2 on plant growth (1981-1985). His BSc was in Ecology from Lancaster University (1977), and his PhD was from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Edinburgh (1981).

Current role

Climate Change Science Group Leader

Current programmes

Leads 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 on woodland creation, and the contribution of forest products and woodfuel. Underpinned by field-based measurements 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 including policy makers, stakeholders and forest managers.

Other current programmes

  • Climate change adaptation
    This multi-disciplinary research programme is assisting the development of adaptive forest management in UK forestry by: developing tools for risk assessment using climate change scenarios to inform adaptation, and to focus adaptation action where it is most needed, and providing recommendations and guidance for adaptation measures based on expert information and research findings trialled and examined at key case study sites.
  • Climate change risk assessment (CCRA)
    In 2012 we provided the forestry sector evidence for the first UK CCRA, a Defra-funded project. The climate change risk assessment provided evidence and analysis to enable all UK administrations to understand the level of risks posed by climate change, compare the risks of a changing climate, prioritise adaptation policy geographically and by sector, and assess the costs and benefits of adaptation actions and support the case for resources for these. The second CCRA, which is due to report in 2017, is under preparation, and we are contributing to the drafting of the chapter on the Natural Environment and Rural Economy.
    We are partners in the GREENHOUSE consortium, working in the NERC GHG Emissions and Feedback programme (2013-2017). We are contributing to measurements of the effect of forest management on GHG emissions and uptake. The project title (Generating Regional Emissions Estimates with a Novel Hierarchy of Observations and Upscaled Simulation Experiments) encapsulates the work, which is looking at the emissions and uncertainties in their estimates as we scale up from point measurements on the ground to the UK scale and the atmosphere above it.

Affiliations and achievements

  • Member of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • Member of the Society for Experimental Biology
  • Member of the British Ecological Society
  • Member of the Board of Reviewers for the Journal of Experimental Botany.
  • Member of the EU COST STReESS consortium (Studying Tree Responses to extreme Events: a Synthesis). 

Research areas

  • Trees, woodlands and forests and climate change
  • Plant environmental physiology, including plant response to stress, particularly water and temperature
  • Measurement and modelling of carbon uptake and water use by trees and plant control of water loss and gas uptake
  • Leaf and forest canopy function, including imaging techniques for assessment of forest response to stress
  • Forest meteorology and microclimate, including exchanges of gases and energy between atmosphere and forest.

Recent publications

Wilkinson, M., Eaton, E.L. and Morison, J.I.L. (2016). Variation in the date of budburst in Quercus robur and Q. petraea across a range of provenances grown in Southern England. European Journal of Forest Research doi:10.1007/s10342-016-0998-z http://rdcu.be/mRIy

Ilie, I., Dittrich, P., Carvalhais, N., Jung, M., Heinemeyer, A., Migliavacca, M., Morison, J.I.L, Sippel, S., Subke, J.-A., Wilkinson, M., and Mahecha, M.D. (2016). Reverse engineering model structures for soil and ecosystem respiration: the potential of gene expression programming. Geoscientific Model Development Discussions. doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-242

Pinnington, E.M., Casella, E., Dance, S.L., Lawless, A. S., Morison, J.I.L., Nichols, N.K., Wilkinson, M. and Quaife, T.L. (2016). Investigating the role of prior and observation error correlations in improving a model forecast for forest carbon balance using Four-dimensional Variational data assimilation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 228: 299-314. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2016.07.006.

Wingate, L., Ogée, J., Cremonese, E., Filippa, G., Mizunuma, T., Migliavacca, M., Moisy, C., Wilkinson, M., Moureaux, C., Wohlfahrt, G., Hammerle, A., Hörtnagl, L., Gimeno, C., Porcar-Castell, A., Galvagno, M., Nakaji, T., Morison, J. Kolle, O., Knohl, A., Kutsch, W., Kolari, P., Nikinmaa, E., Ibrom, A., Gielen, B., Eugster, W., Balzarolo, M., Papale, D., Klumpp, K., Köstner, B., Grünwald, T., Joffre, R., Ourcival, J.-M., Hellstrom, M., Lindroth, A., George, C., Longdoz, B., Genty, B., Levula, J., Heinesch, B., Sprintsin, A., Yakir, D., Manise, T., Guyon, D., Ahrends, H., Plaza-Aguilar, A., Guan, J. H. and J. Grace (2015). Interpreting canopy development and physiology using a European phenology camera network at flux sites. Biogeosciences 12: 5995-6015.

Wilkinson, M., Crow, P., Eaton, E.L. and Morison, J.I.L. (2015). Effects of management thinning on CO2 exchange by a plantation oak woodland in south-eastern England. Biogeosciences Discussions 12: 16197-16232. doi: 10.5194/bgd-12-16197-2015.

D'Odorico, P., Gonsamo, A., Gough, C.M., Bohrer, G., Morison, J., Wilkinson, M., Hanson, P.J., Gianelle, D., Fuentes, J.D. and Buchmann, N. (2015). The match and mismatch between photosynthesis and land surface phenology of deciduous forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 214-15: 25-38.

Ward, H.C., Kotthaus, S., Grimmond, C.S.B., Bjorkegren, A., Wilkinson, M., Morrison, W.T.J., Evans, J.G., Morison, J.I.L. and Iamarino, M. (2015). Effects of urban density on carbon dioxide exchanges: observations of dense urban, suburban and woodland areas of southern England. Environmental Pollution 198: 186-200.

Barsoum, N., Eaton, E.L., Levanič, T., Pargade, J., Bonnart, X. and Morison J.I.L. (2015). Climatic drivers of oak growth over the past one hundred years in mixed and monoculture stands in southern England and northern France. European Journal of Forest Research 134: 33-51. doi: 10.1007/s10342-014-0831-5.

Harris, Z., McNamara, N.P., Rowe, R., Dondini, M., Finch, J., Perks, M., Morison, J.,  Donnison, I., Farrar, K., Sohi, S., Ineson, P., Smith, P. and Taylor, G. (2014). The ELUM Project: Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial. Biofuels 5: 111-116.

Wang, S., Hastings, A., Wang, S., Sunnenberg, G., Tallis, M. J., Casella, E., Taylor, S., Alexander, P., Cisowska, I., Lovett, A., Taylor, G., Firth, S., Moran, D., Morison, J. and Smith, P. (2014). The potential for bioenergy crops to contribute to meeting GB heat and electricity demands. GCB Bioenergy 6: 136–141. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12123

Viger, M., Rodriguez-Acosta, M.,  Rae, A.M.,  Morison, J.I.L. and Taylor, G. (2013). Toward improved drought tolerance in bioenergy crops: QTL for carbon isotope composition and stomatal conductance in Populus. Food and Energy Security 2: 220-239. Article first published online: 3 DEC 2013, DOI: 10.1002/fes3.39

Vanguelova E.I., Nisbet T.R., Moffat A.J., Broadmeadow S., Sanders, T.G.M. and Morison, J.I.L. (2013). A new evaluation of carbon stocks in British forest soils. Soil Use and Management 29(2): 169-181. doi: 10.1111/sum.12025.

Mizunuma T., Wilkinson M., Eaton, E.L, Mencuccini, M., Morison, J.I.L. and Grace, J. (2013). The relationship between carbon dioxide uptake and canopy colour from two camera systems in a deciduous forest in southern England. Functional Ecology 27: 196-207.,doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12026. 

Tallis M.J., Casella E., Henshall P.A., Aylott M.J., Randle T.J., Morison J.I.L. and Taylor G. (2013). Development and evaluation of ForestGrowth-SRC a process-based model for short rotation coppice yield and spatial supply at a national scale. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 5: 53-66.

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.

Morison, J.I.L., Vanguelova, E., Broadmeadow, S., Perks, M., Yamulki, S. and Randle, T. (2010). Understanding the GHG implications of forestry on peat soils in Scotland (PDF-2140K). Report for Forestry Commission Scotland, October 2010, Forest Research, 56pp.

Ray, D. Morison, J. and Broadmeadow, M. (2010).  Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands (PDF-1920K) . Forestry Commission (England), Research Note FCRN 201, 16pp. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Stokes V.J., Morecroft M.D. and Morison J.I.L. (2010). Comparison of leaf water use efficiency of oak and sycamore in the canopy over two growing seasons. Trees – Structure and Function 24: 297-306.

Read,  D.J.,  Freer-Smith,  P.H.,  Morison,  J.I.L.,  Hanley,  N.,  West,  C.C.  and  Snowdon.  P.  (2009).   (eds.) Combating  climate  change – a  role  for  UK  forests.   An  assessment  of  the  potential  of  the  UK’s  trees  and  woodlands  to  mitigate  and  adapt  to  climate  change. 222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

West, C.C. and Morison, J.I.L. (2009). Climate trends and projections. Chapter 3 in Read,  D.J.,  et al. eds. Combating  climate  change  –  a  role  for  UK  forests.  222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

Broadmeadow M.S.J., Morecroft M.D. and Morison J.I.L. (2009). Observed impacts of climate change on UK Forests to date. Chapter 4 in Read,  D.J.,  et al. eds. Combating  climate  change  –  a  role  for  UK  forests.   222p.  TSO,  Edinburgh.

Morecroft M.D., Stokes V.J., Taylor M.E. and Morison J.I.L. (2008).  Effects of climate and management history on the distribution and growth of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) in a southern British woodland in comparison to native competitors.  Forestry 81: 59-74.

Morison, J.I.L., Baker, N.R., Mullineaux, P.M. and Davies W.J. (2008).  Improving water use in crop production. Commissioned Review for Special Issue on Sustainability in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. 363(1491): 639-658.