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IAFRI PhD Studentship: The biodiversity and carbon benefits of wood pasture vs agro-forestry

   School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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  Dr R Gaulton  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


The emerging UK policy landscape means that landowners will be able to access multiple, public and privately funded income streams for management of the agri-environment, which can drive the provision of ecosystem services and other public goods. Many of these benefits could be achieved by relatively small changes to land use, whilst others require a more fundamental change with more substantial commitment from the land manager, who will need to consider the costs and benefits. Agroforestry involves the planting of trees in conjunction with livestock grazing or cropping beneath or between the trees. Wood pasture is also grazed by livestock but is more toward the “rewilding” end of land management spectrum. However, there is very limited evidence available regarding the carbon sequestration and biodiversity potential of different systems.

The project, working closely with partners The Tree Council, will compare the different inputs and carbon/biodiversity outputs of wood pasture and agroforestry, utilising socio-economic, field and remote sensing methodologies. The methods and focus of the project will be designed by the student, but may include revising current above-ground carbon sequestration models to improve suitability for agroforestry and wood pasture; determining trade-offs between carbon storage and food production or grazing levels; and using remote sensing to scale-up field measurements over wider landscapes - contributing to a decision making tool for land managers to assess alternative strategies.

Number Of Awards


Start Date

October 2022 

Award Duration

3 years


IAFRI - Fera Science Ltd & Newcastle University (School of Natural and Environmental Sciences)


Lead supervisor

Rachel Gaulton (Newcastle University): [Email Address Removed]

Additional supervisor(s)

Glyn Jones (Fera Science Ltd): [Email Address Removed]

Naomi Jones (Fera Science Ltd): [Email Address Removed]

Eligibility Criteria

IAFRI studentships are funded jointly by Newcastle University and Fera Science Ltd. Funding will cover stipend, tuition fees and research consumables at the UK rate only. IAFRI studentships are available to both UK and international applicants. Residency rules apply. International fee rate candidates will need to cover additional costs.

A minimum of a relevant first or upper second class undergraduate degree or equivalent (e.g. in remote sensing, ecology, agriculture or socio-economics) is required.

Applicants must be willing and able to carry out UK-based fieldwork and hold or be able to obtain a full UK driving license. Scientific programming (e.g. R / Python), socio-economics, image processing and ecological survey skills will also be viewed as advantageous. An interest in engagement with industry partners and key stakeholders, including the Tree Council, is essential. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

You will need to:

  • Insert the programme code 8020F in the programme of study section
  • Select ‘PhD Biology (full time) - Biological Sciences’ as the programme of study
  • Insert the studentship code IAFR2208 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code IAFR2208 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Contact Details

Rachel Gaulton: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% of home tuition fees paid and annual stipend of £15,609.
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