Sustainable Environments

We are investigating the impacts of climate change on forests and water, people and our planet seeking sustainable solutions to real world crises.

Climate change impacts the world around us. We need to understand how these changes will affect our environments and future generations. Our research addresses mitigation and adaptation challenges, to enhance resilience and preparedness for climate impacts. We are exploring how we can conserve, restore and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by natural habitats and develop nature-based approaches.

Our researchers are developing innovative and sustainable solutions to solve the water crisis that societies are facing today. They explore the grand challenges in water research which require novel approaches to address water resources in a changing environment from floods, droughts and resilience to the problems caused by human activities (including pollution).

The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) brings together researchers from across a number of different areas, to provide the science, social science and cultural research into the importance of forested landscapes anywhere in the world. We make the evidence-based case for forests as part of one-planet living.

Our researchers are examining the following areas:

Adaptation and resilience: Freshwater systems and forests are among the most endangered habitats in the world due to development, pollution and climate change.

Water security: too much, too little, too dirty: The global population faces significant water security threats related to: water supply, water pollution, wastewater removal, sanitation and associated ill health and the socio-economic impacts of droughts and floods.

Understanding forested landscapes BIFoR FACE: The large-scale BIFoR Free Air Carbon Dioxide (FACE) facility in Staffordshire (the only such facility in the northern hemisphere) 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.


“We are informing national and international policy makers on climate change, water science, forestry and plant science. And, we are proud to work together with academic, industrial and NGO partners to ensure that our research into natural environments develops meaningful impact to support communities around the globe.”

Professor David Hannah

Professor David Hannah

Professor of Hydrology

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  • Key staff

    Find out about our researchers who work collaboratively within this field

  • Policy experts

    University of Birmingham researchers and academic experts are working across all major policy areas, this guide aims to enable policy makers to contact researchers quickly and efficiently.

  • Media experts

    The University of Birmingham is one of the UK's leading universities for research and can offer expertise to the media on many different subjects.