Ian Willey

Ian Willey


I am a first year PhD researcher in the School of Earth & Environment, within the Biosphere-Atmosphere Research Group. My PhD is funded by The Peter Sowerby Foundation and is part of a wider research programme being undertaken at the University of Leeds to understand the barriers and impacts of landscape-scale restoration in the UK uplands. The working title of my thesis is “Evaluating the impact of woodland creation schemes in England on forest cover and ecosystem services”. Through this studentship I aim to improve understanding of the success and failure of previous subsidy schemes in creating new woodland, developing scalable methods for monitoring forest cover, and exploring the relative importance of environmental, ecological, and societal factors in determining success.

Prior to undertaking this PhD I worked at RBG Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank for eight years, working in a number of roles where my responsibilities included: planning and delivering fieldwork for the UK National Tree Seed Project, coordinating international seed conservation projects, providing technical advice and training to partner organisations, and collaborating across Kew and with international partners to develop new projects and publish research. 

Research interests

Woodland creation and restoration

Remote-sensing techniques for monitoring forest cover and ecosystem services

Seed conservation and seed use

The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF)



  • MSc (Hons) Pollution and Environmental Control
  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science