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To plant or not to plant? Efficacy and impacts of woodland expansion in upland soils


, , , Friday, January 15, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In the face of the climate emergency, woodland expansion, and the role of trees in the global carbon cycle is a hot topic. How to manage woodland expansion, and the impacts on upland and organic soils will be central to transforming the UK from one of the lowest tree-cover countries in Europe, to a vibrant, wooded nation rich in biodiversity and able to mitigate climate change. By working at the cutting edge of ecological modelling, field and soil ecology, and collaborating with Woodland Trust on an exciting woodland expansion scheme at Ben Shieldaig in the Scottish highlands, you will have the opportunity to develop means to pave the way in this exciting field. You will gain a range of skills in spatial modelling, which will help us understand where woodland expansion will have the most combined ecological benefits.

You will work with a vibrant group of conservation ecologists and land managers in the stunning western highlands, which will include placements with the Woodland Trust, and take advantage of the academic setting to access cutting-edge analytical facilities to explore soil and ecosystem ecology of upland soils. Your work will inform policy, add evidence to the woodland expansion agenda, and place you uniquely to engage across a wide audience. You will be motivated to work in field ecology, and be keen to ask questions that cut across traditional boundaries of ecology to engage with this exciting project. Do you want to help drive the evidence base for how we manage and expand UK woodlands and work across leading University and research centres? Get in touch for more details by contacting supervisors Dr Aidan Keith () or Dr Robert Mills ().

The student will be based at UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Lancaster, and University of York award the degree.

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 2.1 degree or higher. If you have a 2.2 degree, but have also obtained a masters qualification, you are also eligible. Substantial relevant post-graduate experience may also be sufficient, please contact the supervisors for more information. The ACCE DTP is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the ACCE NERC Doctoral Training Programme in Ecology and Evolution.

Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 3.5 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,285 for 2020/21)
UK tuition fees (£4,473 for 2021/22)
Research support and training charges (£8,200)
International candidates (including EU) will be considered however they will need to have adequate funds to meet the difference in tuition fees.
International tuition fees for 2021 entry is £22,250.
Not all projects will be funded; a limited number of candidates will be appointed via a competitive process.

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