Introducing the Leeds Forest Observatory

Recently UBoC’s Dom Spracklen and Cat Scott were invited onto Leeds’ own TV station, Made in Leeds, to talk about the new Leeds Forest Observatory (LFO) which UBoC and LEAF are establishing in Middleton Woods as part of the Leeds4Trees project.


Middleton Park in South Leeds is 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.

The LFO is being funded by the University of Leeds Footsteps Fund, the School of Earth and Environment Teaching Enhancement Fund, and, of course, the United Bank of Carbon.

Leeds4Trees also includes developments at Tropical World in Roundhay Park (with other local projects in development), and forms the UK end of a new Forest Twinning with the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania (where an African Forest Observatory is being planned).