Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere & Forest (LEAF) Centre

Leeds Forest Observatory

LEAF researchers from across the University are working with Leeds City Council and the United Bank of Carbon to establish a Forest Observatory here in Leeds. The Leeds Forest Observatory (LFO) will allow students and staff from the University to contribute to the collection of long-term environmental measurements and study the role of forests in the provision of ecosystem services.


The LFO is located in Middleton Park, South Leeds, home to the second largest remaining area of ancient woodland in West Yorkshire. A specific 1 hectare patch of forest has been chosen to allow students and staff to return to the same area year on year to build up a picture of the environmental conditions, and any changes to them. The LFO will help address key questions in environmental research, enhancing our understanding of the role of forests in mitigating climate change, improving air quality and maintaining biodiversity.

footsteps fund masterThe LFO will contribute to the delivery of research-led teaching by providing outstanding opportunities for students from the University to become more deeply involved in scientific work and facilitating high-quality training in monitoring, analysing and reporting environmental data.


There will also be an opportunity for volunteer students to assist in running the LFO, providing a unique student experience delivering a distinctive graduate skill set valued by prospective employees.

Establishment of the LFO has been made possible due to funding from the University of Leeds Footsteps Fund, the United Bank of Carbon, the School of Earth and Environment Teaching Enhancement Fund and local business Harrison Spinks.

The Leeds Forest Observatory featured on the Made in Leeds TV channel in April 2016: