Category Archives: blog

LEAF-let goes down well

Together with our academic parters at the University of Leeds (the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest Centre; LEAF), we have produced a summary booklet of the impacts of urban green spaces:

A Brief Guide to the Benefits of Urban Green Spaces

LEAF Benefits of Green Spaces

Feedback from planners, urban designers, landscape architects and local groups has been very positive.

“A good-looking tract to throw at sceptical decision makers or policy makers!” said one admirer.

Dominick Spracklen receives Philip Leverhulme Prize

d.spracklenUBoC’s Dominick Spracklen has been awarded a 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of his research in understanding interactions between the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere and climate and the way that these are being altered by human activity.

Dom’s recent work includes a Nature article which relates lowering deforestation rates in Brazil to improvements in air quality.  This improved air quality can also be linked with improved human health (Reddington et al., 2015).

Leverhulme prizes are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level and whose future contributions are held to be of correspondingly high promise.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes commemorate the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of the Founder. Each Prize has a value of £100,000 which can be used for any purpose which can advance the Prize holder’s research.

Brazil saves lives by reducing deforestation

Slash and burnA new study led by UBoC scientists at the University of Leeds shows that the recent drop in Brazilian deforestation rates has improved air quality across South America, saving thousands of lives.

Each year in the Amazon, thousands of fires are lit to clear trees and vegetation in order to prepare the land for agriculture. Smoke from these fires causes a polluted haze over large areas of southern Brazil with serious consequences for human health.

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Twice the Size of Wales!

UBoC’s long-standing partners, Size of Wales – a unique Welsh initiative tackling climate change by helping to preserve tropical forests – have made a bold decision to double their commitment – and protect an area double the size of the Principality.

Alice Davies & Juliet Muyama - Schools Links between Wales & Africa CREDIT Size of Wales
Alice Davies & Juliet Muyama – Schools Links between Wales & Africa CREDIT Size of Wales

‘The size of Wales’ is a term often used as a measure of tropical forest destruction, and UBoC worked with this Cardiff-based charity in 2012, on the Tongwe Trust’s Ten Million Trees in Tanzania project.

Size of Wales have spent the last 5 years successfully raising funds to help sustain approximately 2 million hectares, (4.9m acres) in both Africa and South America – supporting 15 local forest projects which ensure that forests are kept standing – to benefit local communities and also tackle climate change. This downloadable report details their recent work.

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UBoC visit Flamingo Land

Poster for Tanzania Community Crafts

Last week, members of the UBoC team visited Flamingo Land theme park and zoo to meet with members of the Collaboration for Integrated Research, Conservation and Learning (CIRCLE).

CIRCLE, a partnership between the University of York and Flamingo Land, carries out ground-breaking scientific research into conservation at both the local and global scale. UBoC have helped with CIRCLE’s conservation efforts by funding aspects of the Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) in Tanzania. The UFP is based in the Magombera Forest and aims to conserve and research threatened species and their habitats, whilst improving the livelihoods of, and educating, local communities.

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LEAF Launches!

UBoC’s academic partners at the University of Leeds, the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) research centre, officially launched on the 24th November 2014 with an event held in the School of Earth and Environment.


The aim of LEAF is to bring together all the forest-related research being conducted across the University of Leeds. By linking researchers across faculties, LEAF will strengthen existing collaborations and encourage new inter-departmental partnerships, establishing the University of Leeds as a leading national centre in forest research.

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UBoC helps plant 4000 trees in the Lake District

Over the weekend of 8th and 9th March, volunteers from UBoC, the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) research centre, and academics from the University of Leeds joined forces with the Forestry Commission and successfully planted 4000 oak trees in the Lake District.


The tree planting was part of a push by the Forestry Commission to restore cleared felled upland commercial woodlands back to semi-natural woodlands.

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Bigger is better for carbon accumulation

Contrary to the widely held view, a recent study has demonstrated that old trees continue to sequester carbon at a greater rate than their younger counterparts.

big_little_tree An international team of scientists collated data on tree growth from 403 species across the world, including tropical, sub-tropical and temperate trees.

The team found that carbon accumulation does scale with size; the largest trees in the study were growing at a rate of over 600 kg per year! This happens because the increase in total leaf area, with increasing tree size, proves to be more important than the declining productivity of leaves as trees age.

Continue reading Bigger is better for carbon accumulation