Professor Rob MacKenzie PhD FRSC

Rob MacKenzie

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research
Professor of Atmospheric Science

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

60 second video iconRob MacKenzie is an atmospheric scientist with a particular interest in how plants affect air composition. Watch a video of him describing one aspect of his research in 60 seconds by clicking on the play icon above. 

As a result of a £15M grant, the University of Birmingham has set up the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), of which Rob is delighted to be inaugural Director. BIFoR will focus on two linked challenges: the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands; and the resilience of trees to pests and diseases (so Rob is learning Biology and Ecology!).

Rob is developing a broader understanding of urban systems and their resilience, particularly urban green infrastructure, as discussed in an informal essay featured on the Institute of Advanced Studies' Saving Humans website.


  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Chemistry, Edinburgh, 1986
  • PhD “Small System Modelling of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer”, Essex, 1989


Rob currently does no class-based teaching but does supervise PhD and MSc projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Rob MacKenzie is interested in how plants affect air composition. He is inaugural Director of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), and leads the work at the BIFoR Free-Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) facility.

In particular, his group develops atmospheric chemistry models. The group continues to develop the CiTTyCAT atmospheric chemistry model and has applied it to remote and polluted environments. The group is interested in developing tools for urban planners and regulators. One such tool is the Urban Tree Air Quality Score. The group is currently working with a wide range of other researchers to study the interdisciplinary problems associated with urban regeneration. The project -Urban Futures- uses scenario/futures analysis to establish the robustness of measures put in place today in the name of sustainability. The project also includes detailed disciplinary work on urban air quality.

Rob MacKenzie has supervised over 20 PhD students and he is currently Principal Investigator of the Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship Programme of the Leverhulme Trust.

Other activities

Rob MacKenzie has served the scientific community in a variety of ways, including:

  • Member of the NERC Pool of Chairs (2010 - 2013). 
  • Member, Birmingham City Council Smart City Commission (2012-2013)
  • Associate editor for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and has acted as editor for 5 special sections of the journal.
  • Reviewer for the European Commission (2006 -2008), including acting as project evaluator for the AMMA-EU Framework VI project
  • Executive Committee member of the SCOUT-O3 integrated project (2004 - 2009)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Economic Interest Grouping that ran the scientific programme of the Geophysica research aircraft (2000 - 2006)
  • Secretary to the Atmospheric Chemistry Specialist Group of the Royal Meteorological Society (1994 – 1998)
  • External examiner, University of Leeds MRes “Physics of the Earth and Environment” (2003 - 2007)


Recent publications


Crowley, LM, Ivison, K, Enston, A, Garrett, D, Sadler, JP, Pritchard, J, MacKenzie, AR & Hayward, SAL 2023, 'A comparison of sampling methods and temporal patterns of arthropod abundance and diversity in a mature, temperate, Oak woodland', Acta Oecologica, vol. 118, 103873.

Gardner, A, Ellsworth, DS, Pritchard, J & Mackenzie, AR 2022, 'Are chlorophyll concentrations and nitrogen across the vertical canopy profile affected by elevated CO2 in mature Quercus trees?', Trees.

Dai, Y, Cai, X, Zhong, J & MacKenzie, AR 2022, 'Chemistry, street canyon geometry, and emissions effects on NO2 “hotspots” and regulatory “wiggle room”', npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, vol. 5, no. 1, 102.

Dai, Y, Cai, X, Zhong, J, Mazzeo, A & MacKenzie, AR 2022, 'Chemistry, transport, emission, and shading effects on NO2 and Ox distributions within urban canyons', Environmental Pollution, vol. 315, 120347.

Baird, AB, Bannister, EJ, Mackenzie, AR & Pope, FD 2022, 'Mass concentration measurements of autumn bioaerosol using low-cost sensors in a mature temperate woodland free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) experiment: investigating the role of meteorology and carbon dioxide levels', Biogeosciences, vol. 19, no. 10, pp. 2653-2669.

Gardner, A, Jiang, M, Ellsworth, DS, Mackenzie, AR, Pritchard, J, Bader, MK, Barton, CVM, Bernacchi, C, Calfapietra, C, Crous, KY, Dusenge, ME, Gimeno, TE, Hall, M, Lamba, S, Leuzinger, S, Uddling, J, Warren, J, Wallin, G & Medlyn, BE 2022, 'Optimal stomatal theory predicts CO2 responses of stomatal conductance in both gymnosperm and angiosperm trees', New Phytologist, vol. 2022.

Bannister, EJ, Mackenzie, AR & Cai, X 2022, 'Realistic Forests and the Modeling of Forest‐Atmosphere Exchange', Reviews of Geophysics, vol. 60, no. 1, e2021RG000746.

Mackenzie, AR, Krause, S, Hart, KM, Thomas, RM, Blaen, PJ, Hamilton, RL, Curioni, G, Quick, SE, Kourmouli, A, Hannah, DM, Comer‐warner, SA, Brekenfeld, N, Ullah, S & Press, MC 2021, 'BIFoR FACE: water–soil–vegetation–atmosphere data from a temperate deciduous forest catchment, including under elevated CO2', Hydrological Processes, vol. 35, no. 3, e14096.

Khamis, K, Blaen, PJ, Comer-warner, S, Hannah, DM, Mackenzie, AR & Krause, S 2021, 'High-Frequency Monitoring Reveals Multiple Frequencies of Nitrogen and Carbon Mass Balance Dynamics in a Headwater Stream', Frontiers in Water, vol. 3, 668924, pp. 668924.

Pearce, H, Levine, JG, Cai, X & Mackenzie, AR 2021, 'Introducing the Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) Platform: Estimating Site-Specific Changes in the Dispersion of Vehicular Pollution Close to Source', Forests, vol. 12, no. 6, 769.

Gardner, A, Ellsworth, D, Crous, K, Pritchard, J & Ar, M 2021, 'Is photosynthetic enhancement sustained through three years of elevated CO2 exposure in 175-year old Quercus robur?', Tree Physiology.

Commissioned report

Acton, J, Anderson, P, Andres, L, Angus, M, Amor, P, Arrowsmith, J (ed.), Asmelash, H, Bartington, S (ed.), Bengtsson, F, Bhullar, L, Bloss, W, Bonet, B, Börner, S, O Bonsu, N, Bryson, JR, Burns, V, Burrows, A, Calvert, C, Cassidy, N, Cavoski, A, Chadyiwa, M, Chapman, H, Chapman, L, Cockram, M, Degendardt, L, Dickinson, D, Ding, Y, Dobrzynski, D, Dolo, M, Dora, J, Ercolani, M, Ersoy, A, Farag, H, Ferranti, E, Fisher, R, Freer, M, Goldmann, N, Goode, CE, Greenham, S, Gulati, S, Hadfield-Hill, S, Harper, G, Hegerl, G, Hillmansen, S, Holmes, J, Huang, JJ, Huser, C, Jackson, R, Jaroszweski, D, Jefferson, I, Johnson, J, Kaewunruen, S, Kelly-Akinnuoye, F, Kettles, G, Kraftl, P, Krause, S, Leckebusch, GC, Lee, R, Lockwood, B (ed.), Lohse, J, Luna Diez, E, Lynch, I (ed.), MacKenzie, R, Maddison, D, Makepeace, J, Mann, V, Marino, R, Mavronicola, N, McDonald, M, McGowan, K (ed.), Metje, N, Ng, K, Nicol, J, O'Sullivan, C, Phalkey, N, Prestwood, E, Pyatt, N, Quinn, A, Radcliffe, J (ed.), Ravi, M, Reardon, L, Reeder, T, O’Regan, P, Remedios, L, Roberts, J, Rogers, C, Rungskunroch, P, van Schaik, W, Swan, J (ed.), Thomson, I, Toft, H (ed.), Tong, J, Botello Villagrana, F, Walton, A, Wason, C (ed.), Weir, C, Wood, R & Zhong, J 2021, Addressing the climate challenge. University of Birmingham.

Conference contribution

Mills, S, MacKenzie, R & Pope, F 2023, Constructing a pollen proxy from low-cost Optical Particle Counter (OPC) data processed with Neural Networks and Random Forests. in EGU General Assembly 2023., EGU23-433, European Geosciences Union, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24/04/23.

Working paper

Bradwell, J, Foyer, C & MacKenzie, AR 2022 'Forest innovation to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies' University of Birmingham.

Levine, J, Brown, Y & MacKenzie, R 2021 'Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) guidance & decision tree: an evidence-based approach to reducing roadside exposure to road transport pollution' University of Birmingham.

View all publications in research portal


air pollution; urban sustainability; green infrastructure; temperate forests and climate; tropical land-use and climate

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