UK Research and Innovation to fund research on how trees can help reach net zero

The UK Research and Innovation public body have announced £10.5 million of funding to support research on the value of trees to people and the planet, and expanding treescapes across the UK.

Six projects have been awarded funding to develop new tools and approaches for how trees and woodlands can adapt to climate change. The projects will:

  • understand how local authorities are meeting their tree planting targets, the cultural significance of trees to communities and how well they capture greenhouse gases
  • work creatively with young people to co-produce new approaches to creating and caring for treescapes that benefit the environment and society
  • investigate how trees respond to stress and pass on that memory to future generations
  • assess the potential of woodland restoration along over 200,000 km of England’s rivers and bodies of water
  • examine how community forests enable stakeholders to work in partnership to deliver multiple benefits from forests
  • study whether trees can adapt effectively to climate change, pests and diseases.


Speaking on the new programme, Forestry Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, said:

“I am delighted to be supporting this new research programme, which will emphasise the importance of treescapes and help deliver our tree planting ambitions.

In the run up to COP26 this is an exciting opportunity to showcase how the UK’s cutting-edge science can deepen our understanding of the health and environmental benefits provided by trees while ensuring they are protected for future generations.”

Funded Projects

  1. Connected treescapes: a portfolio approach for delivering multiple public benefits from UK treescapes in the rural-urban continuum
    Led by Professor Piran White and Dr Julia Touza from the University of York.
  2. Voices of the future: Collaborating with children and young people to re-imagine Treescapes
    Led by Professor Kate Pahl from Manchester Metropolitan University.
  3. Branching Out: New Routes to Valuing Urban Treescapes
    Led by Professor Michael Wilson from Loughborough University.
  4. MEMBRA: Understanding Memory of UK Treescapes for Better Resilience and Adaptation
    Led by Dr Estrella Luna-Diez from the University of Birmingham.
  5. Creative Adaptive Solutions for Treescapes Of Rivers (CASTOR)
    University of Manchester, University of Cumbria, University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham & University of Salford.
  6. Learning to adapt to an uncertain future: linking genes, trees, people and processes for more resilient treescapes (newLEAF)
    Led by Dr Stephen Cavers from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.


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