Tom is currently studying for his PhD in forest ecology at the University of Stirling, UK in collaboration with Forest Research. The focus of his research is the resilience of forest ecosystems to climate change.
Tom is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, a member of the Association for Tree-Ring Research and runs the British Ecological Society’s Forest Ecology Group. Tom also runs and maintains the website forest-ecology.com.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
I’m a forest ecologist with a background in conservation, having worked across a range of projects both in the UK and abroad. My interests are wide-ranging and encompass anything relating to the ecology of forest ecosystems, both temperate and tropical, with a particular focus on managing forests as complex adaptive systems, forest dynamics and resilience to extreme climatic events with a healthy fascination with mycology (fungi).
I have previously worked as an intelligence analyst in the UK and as a bio-security ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand. More recently I returned to the UK and my conservation career led me to an island nature reserve off the north coast of Scotland (Handa Island), which I ran for two years. I then spent a brief period working in the forest industry having completed my MSc in Environmental Forestry at Bangor University, Wales and am now pursuing a long-term abition of becoming a forest research scientist.
My current focus is now on completing my PhD at Stirling University in collaboration with Forest Research. My research is primarily focused on assessing the resilience of forests to extreme climatic events with a particular focus on drought, how different species and communities respond to stressful events and how these events can drive the novel development of forest structure, composition and function. This work often involves investigating the legacy and impact of historic drought events using tree-rings (dendroecology). My passion for applied research also means I enjoy the challenge of trying to operationalise this knowledge to ultimately build adaptive capacity into our forests to deal with the challenges of a future climate.
I believe strongly that interdisciplinary teams of people are frequently the key to solving many of the complex problems we face globally. Equally, I think the importance of bridging the gap between scientific research and people is fundamental. It is my hope that this website and my short animated films will help to bring some of the amazement and wonder that I find through studying these amazing ecosystems, the issues they face and the ways in which we think they work to a broad audience, in an easy and digestible format, with lots of nice pictures for good measure!