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Creating Canopy: the biology and practice of establishing trees and woodlands for people and nature

27/11/2023 - 29/11/2023


Woodland creation has never been more important.

We need more woodland for people to enjoy, for nature, to sustain our timber security and to help reduce the impact of climate change. We need more trees in urban areas for health, well-being and environmental benefits. However the simple act of planting or establishing a tree is not quite so simple as it first appears! What is the right tree for the right site? What are evidenced-based scientific, technical and social challenges and barriers to success?

Underpinning these activities is the need for knowledge of tree biology and ecology, irrespective whether trees are established in urban, rural or wild landscapes. Creating canopy is not just about planting trees as new nature-based solutions are emerging that help us create new tree and woodland habitats through natural colonisation and regeneration. At the present time we are not establishing enough tree and woodland canopy to meeting targets for NetZero emissions and there is uncertainty about the form and structure of tree and woodland canopy cover into the future. Science and technology play a vital role in establishing trees and woodlands.

This event has two phases. Firstly a two-day conference will shine a light on new and emerging priorities, latest research and technical advances related to creating canopy. Second on day 3 we will host a workshop co-organised by the FraxNet Network. Delegates are invited to join for two or three days, either in-person or virtually.

Major Themes in ‘Creating Canopies’

· Urban Canopies – merging engineering with nature solutions?

· Natural processes – colonisation and natural regeneration to increase taxonomic and functional diversity

· What grows with what? Tree and woodland establishment in agroforestry systems

· Planting new productive woodlands – biology, genetics and ecology

· A climate of change – genotype and species choices for the future

Invited Speakers

Douglass Jacobs, Regeneration and Restoration Silviculture Laboratory, Purdue University, USA

Estrella Luna-Diaz, BIFoR, University of Birmingham, UK

Manuel  Esperon-Rodriguez, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Australia

Jo Bradwell, Norbury Park Estate and JABBS Foundation

Invited Speaker for FraxNet meeting

Michelle Cleary, Senior Lecturer in Forest Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Ruth Mitchell, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Group Lead, James Hutton Institute

Abstract Submission

We encourage submission of abstracts for delegates to present their work linked to any aspect of tree-planting.


We will select oral presentations from both in-person and online delegates so please submit an abstract however you will participate in the meeting. Abstracts submitted will be considered for both the main two-day ‘Creating Canopies’ event and for day three ‘EU-Ash Network’ event.

A evening poster session and drinks reception will be hosted on Day 1 with the posters on show for all three days of the event.

We hope to announce the meeting schedule in September 2023.

DEFRA Travel grants

The UK Government ‘Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) is supporting the attendance of early career professionals by providing grants to cover travel and accommodation costs. There is a £2000 available which will be shared amongst eliigble applicants. AAB Early Career Professionals are current students or anyone within 5 years of finishing full-time education.

Please download the application form and return within one month of the meeting. Successful applications will need to write a short report that reflects on their experience at the meeting.



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