PhD Studentship Evaluating extinction risk of the world’s timber tree species


The aim of this research is to assess the extinction risk of the world’s timber tree species, and the societal impacts of their potential extinction. Trees are of exceptionally high ecological, socio-economic and cultural importance. They provide habitat for >50% of Earth’s terrestrial species, play a major role in global biogeochemical processes, and contain 50% of terrestrial carbon. Timber trees provide major economic benefits in terms of wood and fibre, water and climate regulation, prevention of soil erosion, and cultural value, as well as contributing $468 billion annually to the global economy. This research will test the hypothesis that such benefits are increasingly at risk, because many timber tree species are now threatened with extinction.

The research will involve undertaking a conservation assessment of the world’s timber tree species, according to the IUCN Red List process. This will include production of distribution maps of the principal tree species that are harvested for timber, and an analysis of population trends. The contribution of timber tree species to provision of ecosystem services will be evaluated by conducting a systematic literature review and associated meta-analysis. The principal output will be the first comprehensive conservation assessment of the world’s timber tree species, together with an evaluation of their socio-economic importance.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates for this fully-funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years. All candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honours degree at Upper Second Class (2.1) and/or an appropriate Masters degree. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

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In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project.


For details on how to apply please visit
For project details please contact Dr Adrian Newton


Closing Date

The first call for applications will close on 21st June 2013.


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