About Us - BIFoR Tree Pathology Research

As demonstrated powerfully by recent outbreaks of tree pests and diseases such as ash die-back, oak processionary moth, and phytophthora, current forestry and woodland management practices leave us vulnerable to catastrophic landscape change and economic losses. BIFoR will address tree defence, susceptibility and resistance under current and future climate, using discovery tools drawn from biomedical science and, from a broader ‘complex systems’ perspective, innovative approaches to manage risks to forest health. Laboratory based research will tackle these increasingly important issues.  

In September 2022, James McDonald will join the University of Birmingham as Professor of Microbial Ecology.

Read our article 'Tree susceptibility and resilience to pests and disease' written for the University of Birmingham, series of essays "Addressing the Climate Challenge" in advance of COP26.

 

The Wolfson Advanced Glasshouses

The University of Birmingham has world class Environmental Science Facilities. Including the Wolfson Advanced Glasshouses which offer state-of-the-art facilities for accelerating research into a wide range of areas including food security, sustainability and climate change. They provide a fully controlled experimental environment on campus.  The Glasshouses connect colleagues working across biology, chemical sciences, ecology, water and atmospheric sciences.  

Research opportunities are also greatly enhanced as we are able to investigate tree health of mature trees and complex forest ecosystem under future carbon dioxide atmospheric conditions at the BIFoR FACE facility.  

With thanks to BIFoR Director / Chair in Tree Pathology, Prof Robert Jackson, the BIFoR Forest Health research team continues to thrive with 5 new PhD students and 3 new postdoctoral researchers starting in September / October 2021.  BIFoR is also proud to have on our team of Directors the Chief Plant Health Officer for Defra, Prof Nicola Spence

The BIFoR FACE facility

 

Find out more about our forest health research in relation to ash, cherry and oak using the links below.  BIFoR is proud to be part of the Action Oak initiative.  

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Bacteriophages – a safe and natural alternative for treating cherry canker?

 

A new UK Treescapes Programme funded project is now underway called  MEMBRA.  The major new study will explore if a tree's 'memory' can increase its resilience.  
For more information about MEMBRA, please view the short video (right) and for more information on our other forest health related research projects please visit our webpages (below). 
About MEMBRA with Dr Estrella Luna Diez

 

Proceedings of previous 'Forest Health' conferences organised by BIFoR are available online: 

FH BIFoR Annual meeting

 

The BIFoR annual meeting 2021 had a focus on pests and diseases.  The conference proceedings - including recorded talks and posters - are available on our webpages.

FH Thinking Higher

Thinking Higher brought together over 80 international researchers to exchange the latest knowledge across plant pathology and tree research. Further to the conference a new consortium was set up - the 'Priming in Trees Consortium'

Estrella Luna Diez and colleagues in lab

(L to R); Carolina Mayoral, Estrella Luna-Diez, Rosa Sanchez Lucas and Isabel Okeke are currently developing the project “Resistance strategies of oak trees in the arms race with pathogens”