Russell Anderson


Russell Anderson


Twitter: @_russellanderso

Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5907

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Russell joined Forest Research in 1978 and has undertaken research on soils, hydrology, peatlands and ecology. He studied for an MSc in Forest Science at Edinburgh in 2000-2003. He is a member of the Land Use and Ecosystem Services (LUES) team and co-ordinates the Evidence and Knowledge work area.

Current role

Project leader: Afforested peatland restoration and ecosystem services

Russell leads research to support forest policy and practice relating to afforested peatlands. This covers the impacts of peatland afforestation and restoration on key ecosystem services. It includes testing techniques for peatland restoration and trialling alternative types of land management that may in some places give greater overall benefits.

Russell proposed research tasks and outputs under this work area for 2015-19 and is working through these. Some tasks involve setting up 3-4 year trials in which plant communities and soil physical properties, particularly the water table, are monitored to determine the impact of experimental treatments. Other tasks involve much longer term monitoring and interpretation to understand processes through which forests impact on peatland.

Partnerships with universities and other environmental organisations are a common feature of Russell’s research, particularly for tasks that can be tackled through co-supervised PhD studentships. Russell attends conferences to exchange knowledge and build contact networks, which he maintains partly through participating in professional common-good activities.

Current projects

  • Cracked peat rewetting trials
    As project leader, Russell runs the two field trials, analyses data and communicates results.

  • Peatland use and ecosystem services
    Co-ordinator of this major partnership project based on a trio of PhD studentships.

  • Quantifying carbon accumulation and loss in afforested peatlands
    Partner and co-supervisor of this Leverhulme Trust funded PhD project.

  • Bog restoration experiments
    As project leader, Russell analyses data and communicates results from two replicated field experiments.

  • Peat subsidence due to afforestation and drainage
    Project leader responsible for long-term monitoring and analysing, interpreting and communicating results.


Affiliations and achievements

  • Member of Scotland’s National Peatland Research and Monitoring Group
  • Member of British Ecological Society
  • Forestry Commission contact for corporate membership of the International Peatland Society.
  • Member of Organising Committee for IPS 2017 Convention
  • Member of the UK Peat Society

Main recent publications and knowledge exchange activities

Peer reviewed papers

Ratcliffe, J. Andersen, R. Anderson, R. Newton, A. Campbell, D. Mauquoy, D. Payne, R. 2017 Contemporary carbon fluxes do not reflect the long-term carbon balance for an Atlantic blanket bog. The Holocene 1-10 DOI: 10.1177/0959683617715689.

Anderson, R. Peace, A. 2017.Ten-year results of a comparison of methods for restoring afforested blanket bog. Mires and Peat 19 Article 06, 1-23.

Wilson, J.D. Anderson, R. Bailey, S. Chetcuti, J. Cowie, N.R. Hancock, M.H. Quine, C.P. Russell, N., Stephen, L. Thompson, D.B.A. 2014. Modelling edge effects of mature forest plantations on peatland waders informs landscape-scale conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology 51, 204-213.

Yamulki, S. Anderson, R. Peace, A. Morison, J.I.L. 2013. Soil CO2 CH4 and N2O fluxes from an afforested raised peatbog in Scotland: implications for drainage and restoration. Biogeosciences 10, 1051-1065.

Whitfield, S., Reed, M., Thomson, K., Christie, M., Stringer, L., Quin, C. H., Anderson, R., Moxey, A. and Hubacek, K. (2011) Managing peatland ecosystem services: current UK policy and future challenges in a changing world. Scottish Geographical Journal, 127(3), 209-230.

Book chapters

Anderson, R. Vasander, H. Geddes, N. Laine, A. Tolvanen, A. O’Sullivan, A., Aapala, K. 2016. Chapter 12 Afforested and forestry-drained peatland restoration. In: Peatland restoration and ecosystem services (eds. A. Bonn, T. Allott, M. Evans, H. Joosten, R. Stoneman). British Ecological Society Ecological Reviews series. Cambridge University Press.

FC and FR publications

Anon, (2014). Managing open habitats in upland forests. Forestry Commission Practice Guide. 40pp Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Anderson, A.R. (2010). Restoring afforested peat bogs - results of current research (PDF-954K). Forestry Commission Research Note 6. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Contract and project reports

Anderson, R. Watts, K. Riddle N., Crosher, I. Diack, I. 2014. An assessment of the afforested peat land in England and opportunities for restoration

Anderson, R. Cariss, H. 2013. Field assessment tool for deep peat. Forestry Commission Wales

Vanguelova, E. Anderson, R. Broadmeadow, S. Yamulki, S. Randle, T. Nisbet, T. Morison, J. 2011. A strategic assessment of the afforested peat resource in Wales


Trade journal and newsletter articles

Anderson, R. 2017. What should we do about forests on peat bogs? SCRR Newsletter Issue 87 Spring 2017.

Scientific conferences: presentations or posters

Anderson, R. 2016. Forest-to-bog restoration in Scotland: recent advances, gaps and barriers. IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference: Creating a Legacy for Peatlands 29 Nov-1 Dec 2016, Shrewsbury.

Anderson, R. 2016. Bog restoration from forestry in UK: Lessons from the Forestry Commission’s experience as practitioner, researcher and regulator. Cumbria BogLIFE mid-project conference: Restoring peatlands – the development of best practice techniques 4-6 Oct 2016, Penrith.

Anderson, R. 2015. Restoration of afforested peatlands across Europe. EU LIFE Rebuilding Ireland’s Natural Capital end of project conference, 29-30 Sep 2015, Athlone.

Anderson, R. Vasander, H. Geddes, N. Laine, A. Tolvanen, A, O’Sullivan, A. Aapala, K. 2012. Restoration of afforested peatlands – ecosystem service gains and losses. IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference: Investing in peatland – demonstrating success 26-27 Jun 2012, Bangor, Wales