Piles Copse

Nestling among the barren wilderness of Dartmoor is one of three rare wild woods. Piles Copse is a woodland mainly comprising pedunculate oak Quercus robur. The trees, festooned with mosses and lichens, are rich in biodiversity. It is an English rainforest, and a relic of woodland which once covered much of the hilly region.Continue Reading

Ash trees at dawn in Cumbria

One of my more recent co-authored research articles has been selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in The Applied Ecologist’s Blog . The paper, Maintaining ecosystem properties after loss of ash in Great Britain by Louise Hill et al, focusses on the importance of using plant functional traits to predict potential changes to an ecosystem, following the loss of a key species.Continue Reading

silvology defined

Silvology: redefining the biological science for the study of forests With co-author Jens Peter Skovsgaard I propose a formal definition for a term that describes the scientific study of forests and woods: silvology.   In contrast to other disciplines no terminology has developed to distinguish the practice of silviculture fromContinue Reading

In September 1852 young Scottish plant hunter John Jeffrey came across an attractive flowering plant in northern California. After samples were received by his sponsors at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh it was named in his honour.Continue Reading