The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) 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 campus. 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. LEAF will host regular workshops and maintain an active online presence, providing researchers with opportunities to disseminate the findings of their work. LEAF will also act as a means for the end-users of forest research to be in touch with the academics that produce it. This will ensure that research conducted at the University of Leeds has a tangible and beneficial impact on the world’s forests and their communities.
“There’s lots of really great forest-related research going on across the University of Leeds so we wanted to find a way to bring it all together, and make it more accessible for people outside the University. As well as helping us collaborate with each other, we hope that LEAF will be helpful to external organisations, such as NGOs, charities and businesses, who use the results of our forest research to inform their policies, actions and investments ” said Dr Cat Scott, School of Earth and Environment.
The LEAF launch featured presentations from members of the Schools of Geography, Biology, Earth & Environment, Chemistry, and English. The topics discussed ranged from measurements of biodiversity change after logging in Borneo, to how forests affect the climate, and the origins of the words that we use to describe woodlands.
In addition to the academic presenters, the launch event also featured external speakers with experience in forest conservation work. Samantha Gibson from Bettys & Taylors Group spoke about the work that their company has done with the Rainforest Foundation UK and the Ashaninka people of Peru to preserve an area of Peruvian rainforest the size of the Yorkshire Dales. Whilst Jonathan Wild, Chairman of the United Bank of Carbon, spoke about the benefits of a connected approach, between researchers and end-users, when trying to make a real impact in forest conservation.
Professor Piers Forster from the School of Earth and Environment said, “LEAF is a great bottom-up initiative to enhance the profile of our research and increase its impact”.
If you missed the launch but would like to find out about future LEAF activities, sign up to the LEAF mailing list here.