Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship Programme


Forest Edge 2


The Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarships programme will offer 20 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships at the University of Birmingham from 2018 - 2020. It will act as a bridge between Birmingham-led CENTA2 and the ENVISION DTP, providing coherent doctoral training for forest science in the UK for the first time. The first cohort of students commenced in October 2018.  Projects involving joint supervision across schools or colleges are encouraged.  This Doctoral Scholarship Programme (DSP) will coalesce around our single Organising Principle: 

"to determine to what extent Forest existence, form, and function emerge from detailed interactions within and across scales, from molecules, to individual organisms, to communities and societies".

Projects align with the following themes:

A.  Values and meanings  

B.  Change drivers and resilience 

C.  Communication cascades 

Cutting across these themes are two further, cross-linking, perspectives:

  i.        Scales of space and time 

 ii.          Complexity

Projects for a 2021/2022 start will be advertised December 2020. 

Meet the Leverhulme Forest Edge Doctoral students 

"It's been interesting coming together as the Forest Edge cohort to learn about such diverse approaches to research on forested landscapes. We are able to share knowledge from across the social and physical sciences and are challenged to explain our research to each other in understandable and straightforward ways."

Forest Edge doctoral students 
  Name Title Year of study Supervisors
 Ben howard Ben Howard

Coppice management to reduce nutrient loads in forest streams.


Stefan Krause, Nick Kettridge, Sami Ullah and Ian Baker (SmallWood's Association)

 Polly Jarman  Polly Jarman Young people’s experiences of and learning in urban woodlands.   Supervised by 2nd  Peter Kraftl and Sophie Hadfield-Hill 
 Jenny  Jennifer Knight Exploring the desirability of forest landscapes in a natural flood management context. 2nd  Steve Emery  and Simon Dixon
 BRAIN RESPONSES TO FACES AFTER URBAN VERSUS NATURE EXPOSURES thumbnail Eszter Toth  Focus on Cognition: Can forests balance the brain? 2nd   Ali Mazaheri  and Jane Raymond
Bridge Warren Bridget Warren Development and application of novel ecological and   environmental proxies based leaf wax lipids. 2nd  Yvette Eley and James Bendle 
 Talking’ trees ; the impacts of ozone and elevated e) CO 2 on chemical thumb Laura James 

Trees function as highly sensitive and responsive communication hubs within ecosystems; transmitting, receiving and responding to critical information from the environment, often by means of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). I will be exploring the potential effects of elevated CO2 and pollutants, such as ground-level ozone (O3), on the chemical communication between trees and other organisms, by examining qualitative and quantitative changes to VOCs released by trees.

1st  Christian Pfrang 
 The Impact of Forest Roads on The Rate of Biological Invasion. thumb Bradly Deeley

Biological invasion of plant species poses a major threat both to the ecosystem and the economy. My research involves developing a mathematical and computational model of biological invasion, to predict how invasive plants will be spreading when the landscape conditions in the forest are changed by building a road. The main hypothesis I investigate is that roads provide an ideal environment for invasive species to spread.

 1st   Natalia Petrovskaya
Greenhouse gas emissions from soils under future climates (thumb) Nine Douwes Dekker

As part of the BIFoR FACE experiment, I will look at the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soil,  as well as attempt to unravel the mechanistic controls (i.e. the role of the soil microbial community) of GHG production and consumption under elevated CO2. The GHGs considered are primarily methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). We hypothesise that thresholds of soil water, nitrogen and carbon contents will determine the net fluxes of GHGs, and that the spatio-temporal dynamics of hydrological conditions will play a key role in predicting the ultimate global warming potential of forests with climate change

1st  Sami Ullah, E Pendall (Western Sydney), Vincent Gauci, Rob MacKenzie and Sirwan Yamulki (Forest Research)
 The Near- Miss Effect of Forest Fires thumb Maria Gonzalez-Valencia

Forests are worthy of research for many reasons: they are a terrestrial carbon sink, a home to biodiversity, provide clean air etc. Forest fires threaten these ecosystem services and also pose physical danger to households located on the vicinity. The high and increasing economic costs of forest fires can be reduced if we have a better understanding on the factors shaping the perceived risk of households. By using satellite and house price data our research will identify the size and persistence of the impact of pure information effect on the perception of forest fire risk. This can help shape policy responses, potentially save lives and reduce the disamenities associated with forest fires.

 1st Supervised by Professor David Maddison and Dr. Allan Beltran.