Northern Research Station Seminar Series 2008/9

Various dates from Octber 2008 to April 2009.

What are the seminars?

Series of seminars covering a variety of forestry and related research topics including climate change, forest research in Scotland, conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources, greenspace, carbon cycle of forest ecosystems and short rotation forestry.

All seminar details and dates

Who were the seminars suitable for?

Scientists, practioners, policy makers and representatives from industry.

Where did the seminars take place?

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Seminar programme

Economics, discounting & climate change: where does forestry fit in?

10th October 2008 by Prof Colin Price (Bangor University).

Many methods have been proposed for assigning a price to carbon fluxes and states. Because of the lags between fluxes and economic effects, the process of discounting is crucial to prices derived. In particular, the discount rate affects the relative merit of different forestry options, and whether forest sequestration is an economically competitive option.

Climate change is a social issue

24th October 2008 by Dr Anna Lawrence (Forest Research).

Climate change affects humans and trees, and increases the significance of the relationship between the two. Anna will give an overview of how the climate change agenda relates to the three broad themes of Forest Research's social research: human well-being, social capital and inclusion, and governance.

A context for forest research in Scotland

21st November 2008 by Dr Bob McIntosh (Forestry Commission).

The presentation consideedr the current policy environment and future challenges for the sector with a view to identifying key research needs.

Science and public engagement in environmental conflicts

12th December 2008 by Dr Dave Carss (CEH).

Two great environmental challenges are the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources. Although these challenges require an interdisciplinary approach, it is often the case that only biologists have contributed to the formulation of evidence-based management policy. However, a growing move towards wider inclusion of other actors in management debate has led to a reflection on the role of science. A purely biological approach is usually inadequate to the task of trying to address why human-wildlife conflicts occur and why they can remain contentious for decades. Managing environmental conflicts requires flexible, adaptive policy-making and greater efforts to improve dialogue between all stakeholders involved.

We looked at a specific conflict and how local environmental assessments and ‘perceptions’ are taken into greater consideration in order to move towards a more sustainable future and the issues that arise from this.

Impacts of climate change on land-use function

9th January 2009 by Prof Mark Rounsevell (UoE).

Land use is a key element of the world around us with land use change having important consequences for a range of environmental issues such as biodiversity and conservation policy, water resources and quality and climate change, amongst others. The presentation examined the use of foresight analysis and modelling in exploring future land use change.

Particular attention was paid to alternative evaluation frameworks, approaches to dealing with uncertainty and the use of Agent-Based Modelling (ABM). ABM is an emerging technique in land use studies that is especially well suited to linking human and natural systems at different spatial and temporal scales. ABM has great potential for multi-disciplinary assessments that can tackle not only the impacts of environmental change, but also the capacity of individuals and society to adapt to change.

Greenspace quality and quality of life

30th January 2009 by Prof Catharine Ward Thompson (OPENspace, Edinburgh College of Art).

This presentation focused on issues of landscape perception, especially in relation to greenspace, and the implications for healthy lifestyles and quality of life.

It explored some of the challenges to enhancing access to green and natural places, and woodlands in particular, as well as some of the opportunities for improving healthy engagement with such outdoor environments. It drew on a range of research undertaken by OPENspace research centre, including work with teenagers, with older and disabled people, and with different communities across the UK, to explore what aspects of the physical environment attract or deter different groups.

The presentation concluded with a discussion of ongoing research on ways to better understand the links between greenspace and health and well-being, the challenges inherent in such work, and the implications for the design, planning and management of outdoor environments.

Understanding the carbon cycle of forest ecosystems - a data assimilation approach

20th February 2009 by Dr Matthew Williams (Edinburgh University).

"We are now learning much about carbon cycling from continuous monitoring of forest gas exchange through the eddy covariance technique. On hourly to seasonal timescales we can quantify C exchanges from forests, identifying seasonal and inter-annual variability. But understanding the processes that drive carbon exchange requires close links to process models. I described current approaches for extracting process information on carbon cycling from CO2 flux data and the limits on model predictive capability. I also showed how geostatistical techniques can be used to generate spatial confidence intervals on key variables, and how these affect regional extrapolations of carbon cycling."

Forest Research and climate change - understanding the carbon and GHG balances of UK Forestry

13th March 2009 by Dr James Morison (Forest Research).

"As political and economic imperatives for climate change mitigation and adaptation have grown, there has been a surge in demand for information about the carbon and greenhouse gas balances of UK forestry, and how they might be affected by management decisions. While forestry might be considered as being largely about carbon accumulation into trees,  the information that policy makers and managers require is distributed across different disciplines and scales. In this talk I described the outcomes of recent work in  Forest Research on gathering and linking the available understanding to provide some of the information being demanded.  I also highlighted some of the gaps that seem to us to determine the key research questions for the C and GHG research programme."

SRF - Not just forestry on a short rotation!

3rd April 2009 by Alan Harrison (Forest Research).

It is not sufficient to just fell a tree crop early i.e. shorten its rotation, and assume that you have achieved SRF (short rotation forestry).  To be productive, sustainable and a useful alternative energy source, SRF must be considered more carefully. There is no history of SRF in the UK, so much of what we 'know' is based upon extrapolation from conventional forestry. However, it is clear that, though many of the establishment and management issues are similar, biomass production drives the need to look at tree growth from a different perspective; one where quality and yield have do not equate with sawlogs and volume but rather with high density and calorific value. This talk covered site type, species choice, spacing and nutrition, among others in an SRF context and showed that the system is a viable future source of biomass.

Top of page


For more details please contact:

Darren Moseley
Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Tel: 0131 445 6952