This Fellowship facilitated knowledge exchange with a major interdisciplinary Austrian project focused on securing seed supply for forest expansion, helping the UK to overcome this barrier to treescape expansion.

Funding Amount:

Defra funded

A man smiling

Project Outcome:

A hand touches a plant sapling, with other saplings in their own individual pots

Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

Tree cover in the UK is amongst the lowest in Europe and expanding the UK’s treescapes will require millions of seeds from native, climate-resilient trees. But supplying these seeds is a major challenge, with risks associated with inadequate or unreliable seed quality and the introduction of pests and pathogens.

In this fellowship, Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain spent six-weeks seconded to in Vienna, embedded in the team running Austria’s Future Forest Seeds (FORSEE). This is a major interdisciplinary project focused on securing seed supply for forest expansion, and Dr Hacket-Pain worked closely with academic colleagues at BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences), and partners at BFW (Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests), gathering evidence, making contacts, and learning about the main challenges facing seed supply in central Europe. Unexpected results including identifying emerging evidence that acorn supply is threatened by an oak lace bug (Corythucha arcuate). Activities in Austria were informed by priority areas identified by UK partners the Future Trees Trust, Action Oak and Defra, who funded the Fellowship.

Research activities focused on the development of seed production forecasting for major UK tree species, building on the framework proposed by FORSEE. This work contributed to a prototype forecasting model for Fagus sylvatica (Journe et al., 2023), and the work of the Fellowship will continue with ongoing efforts to build forecasting tools for the two UK oak species. This was identified as a priority by Fellowship stakeholders. The Fellowship also created new contacts at Forestry England, resulting in a new PhD project testing the potential to forecast seed production and quality of Sitka spruce.

The insights and results from the Fellowship were shared at the Future Trees Trust Annual Supports Day (2023)….


Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain is an ecologist focused on understanding and predicting the impact of global environmental change on forests. He works on forest and tree growth, using tree rings to monitor forest responses to climate change, and to predict the resilience of forests to drought and other stresses. Dr Hacket-Pain also works on tree reproduction and forest regeneration, particularly the ecology of seed masting. He is interested in understanding how plants regulate variability in reproductive effort, and how they synchronise this variability over space and time. His current work is focused on understanding how masting will respond to environmental change and predicting what this will mean for the dynamics of forest ecosystems.

Published outputs

Journé V, Hacket-Pain AJ, Oberklammer I, Pesendorfer M, Bogdziewicz M. 2023. Forecasting seed production in perennial plants: identifying challenges and charting a path forward. New Phytologist, 239 (2), 466-476

Twitter: @LivUni



STATUS: Completed

Project Lead

Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain, University of Liverpool


The Future Trees Trust, Action Oak, The Woodland Trust and The University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU)