PhD Studentship: The Contribution of Trees and Urban Forests to Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Coventry: Funding for: UK Students, EU Students and International Students;

This project will evaluate the contribution of trees and urban forests to ecosystem services and biodiversity in Coventry. Trees in urban areas provide a wide range of social and environmental benefits and increasing the number of trees has high priority in urban planning. Benefits including the value of carbon storage, the mitigation of air pollution and flooding can be estimated using the iTree Eco methodology, however, biodiversity is not assessed.

Combining iTree methodology with biodiversity assessment is a novel approach which will produce a more comprehensive analysis of the benefits of urban trees in Coventry. In the first year the student will sample Coventry’s trees following iTree methodology.

Following this biodiversity will be assessed in selected sub-plots extracted from the iTree survey. The assessment of biodiversity will include the use of audiomoths to assess bird and bat diversity, and standard methods to assess plant and invertebrate diversity.

All results will then be combined to estimate the overall value of existing tree cover in Coventry, identify areas for new tree plantings while maximising the benefits for ecosystem services and biodiversity. Based on data on species, to model resilience of tree cover in Coventry to climate change projections.

This project is a joint project with Coventry City Council and the supervisory team will include the city ecologist. The project’s results will inform Coventry City Council’s future tree planting strategy and provide a baseline against which the development of the urban tree coverage in Coventry can be measured.

The impacts will include improved tree selection, enhanced treescapes and improved resilience in Coventry. Publicity generated by the project through social media and community events will increase acceptance and positive perception of urban trees in the population.

This PhD opportunity would suit someone with a keen interest in urban trees and treescapes. The project will involve field work within Coventry, this will include surveying trees and surrounding vegetation, therefore fieldwork skills are essential as is a working knowledge of UK tree species. Previous experience of using iTree methodology would be beneficial but not essential.

Funding Details

This PhD is half-funded by Coventry City Council and half-funded by Coventry University. Full bursary and stipend; this project is due to commence in September 2023.


Closes: 6th May 2023

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