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Socio-Economic Aspects of Climate Change Mitigation Through Multifunctional Forestry in Scotland

   Postgraduate Training

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  Prof Maria Nijnik, Dr K Thomson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Since the Kyoto Protocol (1997) climate change has become one of the most important environmental policy issues facing society. Carbon sequestration through land-use and forestry projects has been studied for many countries, including Scotland. Many Scottish policy and research initiatives that focus on carbon uptake are directed toward both woodlands expansion and using wood as a substitute for fossil fuels. However, there is a knowledge gap with respect to the socio-economic aspects of climate change mitigation. The potential benefits of forestry projects in environmental, economic and social terms could be substantial. But do Scottish forests offer a low-cost opportunity for carbon sequestration? Furthermore, there is still a great deal of uncertainty on how to define sustainability of afforestation and biomass production in a broadly acceptable way; how to translate sustainability requirements into policy guidelines; how to overcome market limitations of carbon sequestration projects and where to place biomass production in the general context of land use, where reform of CAP and contemporary agricultural change will likely be influential.

The benefits of multifunctional forestry development in Scotland could be substantial. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty on how to define the sustainability of forestry development in a broadly acceptable way, how to translate sustainability requirements into policy guidelines, and where to place carbon sequestration forestry projects in the context of multifunctional land use systems. This research will investigate both social and economic components of sustainability (e.g. biodiversity, landscape, public and private costs) and will examine how the development of multifunctional forestry in Scotland can assist in moderating carbon emissions, and whether/how it can offer a socially acceptable and low-cost opportunity for carbon uptake.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded under the JHI/University Joint PhD programme and will be undertaken in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen. Prof P Smith will be the principal university supervisor on this project.
Candidates are urged strongly to apply as soon as possible so as to stand the best chance of success. A more detailed plan of the studentship is available to suitable candidates upon application. Funding is available for European applications, but Worldwide applicants who possess suitable self-funding are also invited to apply.


Nijnik, M, Oskam, A and Nijnik, A., 2011. Afforestation for the provision of multiple ecosystem services. International journal of forestry research (accepted/in press).
Nijnik, M., Miller, D., Nijnik A., Fiorini, S., Vogt, N., Brondizion, E and Morrice J. 2011. Public participation for planning the sustainable use of natural resources and landscape change: methodology development. The International journal of interdisciplinary social sciences, Volume 5 (11), 303-320.
Nijnik M, Slee B. and Pajot G. 2011. Opportunities and challenges for terrestrial carbon offsetting and marketing, with some implications for forestry in the UK, South-East European Forestry journal 1(2), 69-79.
Nijnik M., 2010. Carbon capture and storage in forests. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge. In: Hester R.E. and Harrison R.M. (eds.) Issues in Environmental Science and Technology 29: 203-238.
Nijnik, M., Bizikova, L. 2008 Responding to the Kyoto Protocol through forestry: comparison of opportunities for several countries in Europe. Forest Policy and Economics, 10, 257-269.
Nijnik, M. 2005 Economics of climate change mitigation forest policy scenarios. Climate Policy, 4, 318-336.
Nijnik, M., Mather, A. 2008 Analysing public preferences for woodland development in rural landscapes in Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning, 86, 267-275.
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