Research and evidence feeds directly into our practice as well as our policy, whether to understand the impact of climate change or to support a campaign to save ancient woodland. Knowledge is the key to ensuring we can engage people and inspire support, as well as develop and advocate effective conservation techniques.

Our conservation research programme

Our research programme addresses evidence gaps and research priorities. It guides our conservation work to protect, restore and create woods in the UK.

We work with scientists on a wide range of projects, from PhDs to large, collaborative partnerships.

About us

Conservation research grants

We fund applied and policy driven research that addresses issues facing the conservation of the UK’s native woods and trees. We welcome research proposals that address our priority research themes and will help us to achieve our strategic goals: to protect, create and restore native woods and trees, for wildlife and for people.  

Apply for a research grant

Our research programme themes

Our work focuses on four key areas identified in our State of the UK’s Woods and Trees 2021 report. 

Credit: David Kjaer /

Woodland extent, condition and wildlife value

Woodland cover is gradually increasing, but woodland wildlife is decreasing.

We know that increasing native woodland cover at a faster rate is the key to addressing climate change and the biodiversity crisis. We gather and cite evidence to push for better protection for existing woodland and the creation of new woodland habitats to benefit wildlife and people.

Credit: Philip Formby / WTML

Benefits to people

Woods and trees are vital for a healthy, happy society.

We use research to understand more about the benefits of trees for people's health and wellbeing, and for the ecosystem services they provide. This evidence helps us advocate for policies that protect and recognise the value of woods and trees.

Credit: WTML

Threats and drivers of change

Woods and trees are subject to a barrage of coinciding threats.

We use research to understand more about the pressures affecting the health of woods and trees, including tree diseases, climate change and detrimental human impacts. This helps us manage and control threats on our own estate and advise others on best practices.

Credit: Niall Benvie / WTML

Restoration, creation and management

Not nearly enough is being done to protect and expand the UK's woods and trees.

Our work in woodland management, regeneration and creation is based on the best available evidence. It shapes our decisions and is at the core of what we practice and promote.

About us

Tree guards: our research into plastic-free alternatives

We've announced a bold new pledge in the war on waste: no more single-use plastic tree guards on our land from the end of 2021. The commitment puts us at the forefront of the movement to eradicate plastic from planting schemes UK-wide, and we are funding research to find viable alternatives.

Find out more about our research

Our citizen science projects

We harness the efforts of dedicated volunteers to gather data on woods, trees and wildlife throughout the UK. This information is used to help us protect ancient trees, assess the impacts of climate change on wildlife and monitor tree health. 

Conservation publications

We produce a number of reports on our findings and recommendations related to the conservation of woods and trees.

About us

Wood Wise magazine

Delve deeper into the news and science behind our tree and woodland conservation work with Wood Wise magazine.

Browse our back issues

Who we work with

We work closely with other organisations to encourage collaboration and support conservation decision making. 


We're proud to sponsor the Treescapes2021 conference, ‘bringing the future of trees, woodlands and forests into focus’. Treescapes2021 aims to encourage and establish collaborations between early careers researchers and woodland practitioners working on trees in our landscapes – with a focus on treescape resilience, ecosystem services and knowledge sharing mechanisms.

Conservation Evidence

We are an ‘Evidence Champion’, as accredited by Conservation Evidence in association with the University of Cambridge. Conservation Evidence is a resource designed to support conservation decision making. It summarises the documented evidence for the effectiveness of conservation actions. We are committed to putting evidence at the heart of our activities and as part of our Evidence Champion pledge.