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.
The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research was formed in 2014 as a direct result of a £15 million philanthropic donation that was match-funded by the University. The funding was given to enable the newly formed Institute to investigate the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands and the resilience of trees to invasive pests and pathogens.
Central to the donation was co-funding of the set up and running of a Free Air Carbon Dioxide (FACE) facility, the only such facility in the northern hemisphere which is our key research infrastructure. BIFoR FACE has placed scientists at Birmingham in a globally unique position to investigate the impact of climate change on trees.
In the video above, Professor Rob MacKenzie, one of the Directors of BIFoR, describes the focus of the institute's work and the importance of understanding how forests work.
BIFoR is a virtual institute of over 100 academics, primarily from the schools of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences and Biosciences but also including members from Mathematics, Engineering, the Business School, International Development, Psychology, English, and elsewhere. Our research themes are divided broadly into BIFoR FACE, Forest Health, BIFoR Global and Interdisciplinary Research.
BIFoR brings together a wide range of forest related projects that address our overarching vision:
“To provide fundamental science, social science and cultural research of direct relevance to forested landscapes anywhere in the world”.
Naturally, education and engaging people with our research is important to us. We see the value in engaging with the future generation of practitioners and researchers and as such 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 teachers and school students and has received over 40,000 visitors. We also offer the opportunity for University students to engage with our research through offering primary data collection opportunities and /or secondary data / samples for dissertation topics and the chance to volunteer with us.
The University of Birmingham 'Birmingham in Action' features BIFoR heavily in its focus on climate and environmental resilience. BIFoR exists because of far-sighted philanthropy, and philanthropy continues to make a huge difference to what BIFoR can deliver.
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.
Read more about BIFoR in 2020, in our Annual Report.