Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere & Forest (LEAF) Centre

Hearts of Oak

Hearts of Oak is a collaboration across the three White Rose universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield, creating the first cross-institutional hub of its kind for interdisciplinary research into British woodlands.

Oak leaves

Bringing together established and emerging scholars across a wide range of disciplines – archaeology, environmental science, geography, history, literary/cultural studies – Hearts of Oak will consider woodlands as a vitally important part of the natural and cultural heritage of the UK.

While recent debates over the future of Britain’s woodlands have created powerful communities of support, they have also generated their fair share of conflict, e.g. in heated discussions of DEFRA’s ‘Great British Forestry Question’, which revolves around the status and management of Britain’s public forested estate. Led by Dr Amy Cutler of the School of English, the project will address contemporary policy in light of the social and environmental histories of British woodlands.

In keeping with the RCUK’s ‘Care for the Future’ remit, the project will consider the cultural dimensions of woodlands as a legacy: as both a significant point of access for historical interpretation and an equally important point of reference for the environmental and cultural futures of the UK.