Vision and Objectives

The overarching objective of the Future of UK Treescapes programme is to significantly improve the environmental, socio-economic and cultural understanding of the functions and services provided by UK treescapes, in order to inform decision-making on the expansion of future treescapes for the benefits of the environment and society.

A holistic approach will be required to capture interactions across spatial and temporal scales and trophic levels, alongside socio-economic and cultural responses and management interventions. The programme seeks to exploit innovative remote sensing, analytical, and genetic technologies, arts and humanities, and social science methodologies, as well as the creation and linking of environmental, social and economic datasets to cultural and behavioural knowledge that will transform our understanding of treescape form, function, and feedbacks.

The programme will advance and test new measurements of, and approaches to, landscape management and use. It will respond to current climate and rural economy policy priorities and future environmental and economic necessities, and recognise the new opportunities afforded through growing investments in green markets and the bioeconomy.

It is hoped that this programme will also provide stakeholders with a coherent and impactful research base for understanding the present services of, and future pathways for, UK treescapes in response to environmental, socio-economic, and cultural drivers. A key outcome from the programme will be the tools and capacity to characterise the impact of varying treescape form and location upon the ecosystem services and evidence to support benefits that might be delivered by ‘environmental net gain’ policies.

The three following research themes have been identified to address the overarching objective.   

1.  Forms, functions and values of UK Treescapes

A better understanding of how we characterise a fully functioning treescape and the functions and services provided by UK treescapes is required. This theme:

2.  Opportunities, barriers and pathways for expansion of UK Treescapes

An increased understanding of the potential contributions and limitations of expanding UK treescapes to delivering local requirements and national goals (in the wider international policy context) must be considered.

3.  Resilience of UK Treescapes to global change

UK treescapes must be placed and understood in the wider global context – both policy and environmental. This theme:

Stakeholder engagement

Engagement with wider stakeholders and users of research is a requirement of this programme and should be considered in the design of projects. All funded projects will be expected to engage with the programme ambassadors and attend programme events to maximise the impact of the awards and of the programme as a whole.

Meet the team

Professor Clive Potter

Clive Potter is Professor of Environmental Policy at Imperial College London and Future of UK Treescapes programme Ambassador. An environmental social scientist with research interests in sustainable land use and forestry, Clive has published widely on the policy challenges facing the UK’s trees, woods and forests. He has led a series of research projects investigating the risks to tree health from introduced pests and diseases, together with the policy, institutional and behavioural changes that will be needed to safeguard our treescapes. He was a member of Defra’s Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce in 2013 and has been a member of the Forestry Commission’s Expert Science committee since 2017.   

Dr Julie Urquhart

Future of UK Treescapes programme Ambassador Julie Urquhart is an Associate Professor at the Countryside & Community Research Institute. Her academic background spans the remits of the three research councils funding this programme. While her roots are in environmental science, her work integrates environmental social science and human geography, as well as research collaborations with arts’ scholars. As an interdisciplinarian, Julie has over 15 years’ experience in research relating to the sustainability of trees, forests and woodlands, with work that spans the public goods and ecosystem services associated with trees and forests through to the social dimensions of tree health. Much of her work has an applied policy focus, and she has worked closely with Defra and Forest Research over many years.

Dr Alice Goodenough

Alice Goodenough is Programme Manager for the Future of UK Treescapes programme. She has been exploring and writing about the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in woods and forests for over 10 years and previously co-ordinated the Good from Woods research project. Working with a wide range of organisations to evaluate the impacts and outcomes of their work in green and woodland environments, her focus has frequently been the co-design of interdisciplinary and creative research approaches to exploring these.

The Future of UK Treescapes programme Ambassadors

The Future of UK Treescapes programme Ambassadors bring extensive experience of interdisciplinary research across the natural and social sciences, economics and the arts and humanities. Their role is to champion the programme through extensive engagement with stakeholders and policy makers, and to support funded projects through knowledge exchange activities and dissemination.

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