About BIFoR

The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) was formed in 2014 as a direct result of a £15 million philanthropic donation that was match-funded by the University. 

BIFoR is a virtual institute of over 100 academics, primarily from the schools of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences and Biosciences but also includes members from Mathematics, Engineering, the Business School, International Development, Psychology, English, and elsewhere. 

Whilst we are perhaps best known for our world class research woodland in central England - the BIFoR FACE facility - our research stretches much wider than that. Indeed, BIFoR aims to provide fundamental science, social science and cultural research of direct relevance to forested landscapes anywhere in the world. We make the evidence-based case for forests as part of one-planet living. 

We have now organised our research into four key themes:
1. Climate - The impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands
2. Health - The resilience of trees to invasive pests and diseases
3. Global - Big data approaches across space and deep time
4. Urban and interdisciplinary - Understanding the wider importance of trees and forests to human and non-human actors. 


The next BIFoR annual meeting will be 19 and 20 June 2024.

The BIFoR annual report 2022/23 is now available.

BIFoR contributions to two important reports by the University of Birmingham available online: 

Keeping 1.5 degrees alive

Addressing the climate challenge series of essays 



Our two key research infrastructure facilities are the BIFoR FACE Facility and the Wolfson Advanced Glasshouses

The BIFoR Free Air Carbon Dioxide (FACE) facility, the only such facility in the northern hemisphere. BIFoR FACE has placed scientists at Birmingham in a globally unique position to investigate the impact of climate change on trees.

The Wolfson Advanced Glasshouses, offering state-of-the-art facilities for accelerating research into a wide range of areas including food security, sustainability and climate change and providing a fully controlled experimental environment on campus.

BIFoR has 64 doctoral students either completing or having recently completed research related to forested landscapes and we need more! We have our own Doctoral Training Scholarship, Forest Edge, which is enabling the training of 18 doctoral students.

BIFoR research is integrated into teaching at the University, and we are excited about two new courses (MSci Human Sciences and MSci Global Environmental Change and Sustainability). 

We also offer the opportunity for university students to engage with our research through:
- offering primary data collection opportunities at the BIFoR FACE facility 
- secondary data / samples for dissertation topics from the BIFoR FACE facility 
- the opportunity to volunteer with us.

Outreach and Education (high school)

We see the value in engaging with the future generation of practitioners and researchers and as such, we now have a BIFoR Learning and Engagement Lead Officer (Samantha Dobbie) and we are investing time and financial resource into developing online resources for schools, colleges and universities as well as wider stakeholder groups. Our virtual tour of the BIFoR FACE facility has proven to be a hit in particular with high school teachers and students and has received over 53,000 visitors.  We now have 2 other virtual forest tours (mangrove forests & Ruskin Land)

Prof Pritchard talks Education, Climate Change & our Virtual Mangrove Forest Tour

Prof Holmes - Imagining the world we want to build

We organise an annual meeting and have also been involved in organising other conferences for example the Trees for the Future conference (November 2021) and Treescapes 2021.  

To get a further overview of BIFoR we recommend reading our 2022/23 Annual Report. To keep up to date with BIFoR news please sign up to receive our newsletter (twice a year) and/or follow us on X @BIFoRUoB and Instagram /biforuob.  We have our own YouTube channel featuring recordings of past presentations and videos from the BIFoR FACE facility - including many videos of how this large infrastructure was installed into the forest by helicopter! 

The University of Birmingham 'Birmingham in Action' features BIFoR heavily in its focus on climate and environmental resilience.  We have had over 3,000 hours of volunteering time and BIFoR exists and flourishes because of far-sighted philanthropy.

BIFoR gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the JABBS Foundation, John Horseman Trust, John and Lorna Powell, the Wolfson Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), NSF, the Ecological Continuity Trust and of course the University of Birmingham. We gratefully acknowledge the support of our BIFoR Advisory Group members who help advise us on overall strategy for BIFoR, research activity and priorities.  We are delighted to have Prof Jon Drori, Dr Debbie Hemming and Prof Rich Norby as honorary members of the Institute.