Leeds Forest Observatory

Last week, Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) Co-Director Dominick Spracklen and Co-ordinator Cat Scott spoke to Made in Leeds about the Forest Observatory coming to Leeds this summer.

LEAF researchers from across the University are working with Leeds City Council to establish a Forest Observatory here in Leeds. The Leeds Forest Observatory (LFO) will allow students and staff from the University to contribute to the collection of long-term environmental measurements and study the role of forests in the provision of ecosystem services.

The LFO will be located in Middleton Park, South Leeds, home to the second largest remaining area of ancient woodland in West Yorkshire. A specific 1 hectare patch of forest will be chosen for the LFO, allowing students and staff to return to the same area year on year to build up a picture of the environmental conditions, and any changes to them.

The LFO will contribute to the delivery of research-led teaching by providing opportunities for students from the University to become more deeply involved in scientific work and facilitating high-quality training in monitoring, analysing and reporting environmental data. More widely, the LFO will help address key questions in environmental research, enhancing our understanding of the role of forests in mitigating climate change, improving air quality and maintaining biodiversity.

Establishment of the LFO has been made possible due to funding from the University of Leeds Footsteps Fund, the United Bank of Carbon and the School of Earth and Environment Teaching Enhancement Fund.