Northern Research Station Seminar Series 2012/13

Various dates from September 2012 to May 2013.

Next seminar:
Adaptive forest management for the conservation of Scotland's epiphytes
26 April 2013
By: Chris Ellis, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

What were the seminars?

A series of free talks covering a variety of forestry and related research topics.

List of seminars

Who were the seminars suitable for?

Scientists, practioners, students, policy makers and representatives from industry, academic and forestry organisations.

Where did the seminars take place?

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY


For more details please contact:

Trevor Fenning
Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Tel: 0131 445 8715

List of seminars

Date Seminar
21 September 2012

In search of sustainable (urban) forest management in Canada: guidance from citizens’ values

By: Peter Duinker, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Presentation (PDF-4161K)

2 November 2012

The National Forest Inventory, first findings and future outputs

The National Forest Inventory provides accurate up-to-date information about the size, distribution, composition and condition of our forests and woodlands, which is essential for developing and monitoring policies and guidance to support their sustainable management. To gather this information and keep it up to date, we carry out periodic surveys of forests and woodlands across Great Britain.

The current National Forest Inventory – which began in 2010 and will be completed in 2015 – will provide a record of key information about our forests and woodlands. This information is useful to many people and organisations involved in forestry and land management, as well as in the wider world of research, planning, policy development and business. The Inventory has been structured in such a way so that results can be published before the full survey is complete and to date a woodland map, a revised woodland area, conifer area, standing volume and increment and production forecast have been published. The talk will cover how the inventory is derived and explore what has been found to date and what is to come.

By: Ben Ditchburn, Programme Leader for the National Forest Inventory

Presentation (PDF-6788K)

23 November 2012

Chemical calls for help from trees in the forest – are they heard and how can we utilize them?

Trees need to be able to cope with multiple abiotic and biotic stresses if they are to thrive over their long life times. Since long lived plants cannot hope to evade these threats, they have to be able to adapt to them instead. For instance, trees have highly developed mechanisms to defend themselves against excessive damage by herbivorous insects. In addition to generalized, constitutively expressed physical and chemical barriers such as bark, thorns or indigestible tannins, trees can also induce specific targeted defenses in response to insect feeding or even egg laying. They can sense when insect eggs have been deposited on their leaves and will act immediately to rid themselves of the “incubating menace”. Besides developing tumorlike neoplasms to eliminate the eggs, or secreting ovicides to kill them, plants emit chemical “S.O.S.” messages by changing their odour to attract egg parasitoids or predators of their herbivorous enemies. Moreover, volatile cues that are released when one tree is damaged by an insect attack can be detected by neighbouring trees which likewise become more resistant to herbivores, in advance of any actual damage to themselves.

This lecture will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the defensive responses of plants to insect attack, with a special focus on trees. It will include results from pioneering biocontrol field trials, that raise the prospect that the insect pests of trees might in future be controlled by the application of infochemicals or plant wound hormones which control their defense responses. With the knowledge that is emerging about the biochemical and genetic processes that drive these responses, it seems possible that in future we may be able to identify and select those plant varieties that preferentially interact with parasitoids or predators and so manage their defenses to best effect, either at the level of the individual tree or for the forest as a whole.

By: Torsten Meiners, Free University of Berlin.

Presentation (PDF-3692K)

7 December 2012

From Corrour to climate change: a hundred years of development in Scottish silviculture

By: Bill Mason, Forest Research.

Presentation (PDF-10276K)

25 January 2013

Using a natural flood management approach for flooding and water quality control

By: Mark Wilkinson, James Hutton Institute.

Over the past decade the UK has experienced an unusually high number of flood events. The most recent of which were the floods which affected a large proportion of the UK in November and December 2012. As the cost of installing flood defences is increasing a rising number of small communities are failing cost benefit ratios for traditional flood defences, such as concrete structures. Therefore more natural approaches that work alongside these traditional defences are being deployed. Natural flood management (NFM) is the alteration, restoration or use of landscape features with the aim to reduce flood risk. The Pitt Review of the 2007 summer floods summarised the potential of NFM by recommending "greater working with natural processes". NFM includes measures such as planting trees/willow on floodplains or riverside woods, woody debris in streams/ditches, storing water in ponds/wetlands and increasing soil infiltration. Natural flood management is becoming widely accepted as a means for reducing flood risk alongside traditional defences. There is evidence that these techniques can be efficient in small streams. There are also other benefits from NFM, which must be considered alongside potential benefits for flood management, such as water quality improvements. However, there is a knowledge gap on how do the effects of NFM upscale. This presentation will explore various catchment scale examples (from Scotland and England) where NFM is currently being deployed and monitored. The benefits and remaining challenges of different approaches will be discussed.

Presentation (PDF 4000kb)

22 March 2013

Improving the science-policy-practice interface: decision support system development and implementation in the forestry sector in Great Britain

Over the last decade, Forest Research (FR) has been involved in numerous projects to develop decision support systems (DSS) for the forestry and land use sectors in Great Britain and Europe. Many of these have been adopted by the Forestry Commission (FC) and other parts of the forestry sector, and are now integral to the systems of forest management planning and decision making applied throughout Great Britain. However, for some DSS, the level of adoption by potential end users has been lower than expected, which has raised concerns and questions about how this situation might be improved. This challenge is not unique to Great Britain, nor to the forestry sector, and increasingly the causes of the problem are being explained primarily in terms of the quality of stakeholder engagement during DSS development (although there are a range of factors at play). Over the last three years, the Social and Economic Research Group within FR has been exploring the question of how to enhance the uptake and usefulness of the DSS developed by FR, through investigating the factors impacting upon uptake within GB, and drawing on related European research projects. This work has involved interviewing DSS developers, policy customers, FC operational staff, and private forest sector representatives. It also involved carrying out an online survey of members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), which was also open to FC staff. This talk will focus on exploring the findings of this research and the implications for the future development and implementation of DSS.

By: David Edwards and Amy Stewart, Forest Research.

Presentation (PDF 4000kb)

26 April 2013

Adaptive forest management for the conservation of Scotland's epiphytes

Scotland has internationally important epiphyte species and communities, especially where these characterise temperate rainforest. These lichen and bryophyte epiphytes are sensitive to macroclimate and expected to be affected by human-induced climate change. This talk explores the wider context of climate change for epiphyte conservation (alongside pollution impacts, and habitat extent) and presents a decision-making framework enabling site management to reduce the vulnerability of epiphytes to long-term climate change.

By: Chris Ellis, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

17 May 2013

Landbridge: a knowledge exchange network for the rural professions

Field advisors perform a key role in enhancing the skills and development of tens of thousands of farming and land management businesses. These advisors face complex and ever changing calls on their expertise and must keep their knowledge up to date, but how do they do this in practice and to what extent do they act as intermediaries bringing science to the farm? In this presentation, I draw upon recent research exploring the work of vets, applied ecologists and land agents to reflect on what informs field expertise and what types of knowledge are being brokered in the process of advising clients. I consider the role of inter-professional working, where different professions work together and indeed learn from each other, and assess its significance to the maintenance and renewal of field knowledge. I also explore why we might need to re-think our understanding of the role of advisors as knowledge intermediaries between research and land management practice. Finally I will discuss how we have built on these research findings to develop 'Landbridge', a new knowledge exchange network for rural professionals, which aims to contribute to the knowledge development and inter-professional learning of field advisors by building a learning network of researchers and rural professionals.

By: Jeremy Phillipson, Newcastle University.