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Our exciting new multi-disciplinary project is seeking to recruit a Postdoctoral Researcher.



For-es logo in gold & white with green backgroound

The For-ES postdoc researcher will play a leading role in a team to develop Natural Capital Accounts and decision-making tools for forestry in Ireland. These accounts will capture information on forest natural capital STOCKS (the amount, location and condition of forest habitats), and the FLOWS of ecosystem services (in terms of commercial timber production, carbon sequestration, water retention, biodiversity and recreation) and benefits. The researcher will lead the creation of these accounts, and work with stakeholders to develop structured decision-making tools.


This project is led by Professor Jane Stout in the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity

College Dublin, with Professor Yvonne Buckley, also in the School of Natural Sciences at

Trinity. The researcher will also work with collaborators at University College Dublin and Coillte, and play a role in co-supervising a PhD student.


This position is available for up to 3.25 years, with an anticipated start date of April 2022. Annual gross salary up to €47,764, depending on experience.


Essential skills:

Applicants must have -

• PhD in ecology, environmental sciences, forestry, environmental/ecosystem

management, ecosystem services, natural capital, ecological economics,

environmental decision-making or similar

• 2 years post-PhD experience in research, and a track record of publishing

international peer-review journal publications

• Excellent written and oral communication skills in English

• Excellent numerical/data analytical skills, including GIS

• Ability to work in academic team and with industry partners

• Full clean driving licence, valid for Republic of Ireland.


Desirable skills:

Applicants may also have experience in -

 Project management

 Supervision of more junior researchers (research assistants/PhD students)

 Stakeholder engagement


Application Process

Informal enquiries should be made to Jane Stout via email stoutj@tcd.ie.

Applications can be made by emailing Jane Stout at stoutj@tcd.ie by March 12th, 2022. Late

applications will not be accepted.


Applications should include:

1. A curriculum vitae (including the names of two referees, one of which must be an

academic referee).

2. A cover letter (maximum 1,000 words) outlining the applicant’s research interests

and why they are suitable for this project.


Interviews will be held remotely by video-link in March 2022.


About the project:

Assessing and valuing ecosystem services can inform decision-making to ensure climate-smart and sustainable management, across agricultural and forest sectors. Sustainable forestry provides timber as well as supporting biodiversity, ecosystem services, circular economy and climate change mitigation and adaptation.


Coillte is custodian of 7% of Ireland’s land. The estate extends to over 440,000 hectares containing natural assets, such as forests and other habitats, that provide a range of ecosystem services, including renewable timber products, carbon capture and other public

benefits. Timber production is the only ecosystem service that has been quantified and

systematically assessed. To improve current management decision-making processes, For-ES will co-design the tools required to make rigorous, robust and transparent management decisions for multiple ecosystem service provision. A structured decision-making approach will be employed to provide evidence-based decision support for the sustainable supply of multiple ecosystem services from the portfolio of natural capital assets.


To develop the decision support tools required, a Natural Capital Accounting approach will be used to perform ecosystem services assessment and valuation for selected focal sites. This will deliver output estimates of ecosystem services, such as wood products, carbon sequestration, water retention, biodiversity and recreation, by assessing the effects of quality, quantity and location of natural capital assets on ecosystem service provision. Models of ecosystem service provision from natural capital assets will be developed under

alternative land management scenarios to provide managers with the information they need to fulfill multiple ecosystem services objectives at both site and estate level. The For-ES project is the first to combine Natural Capital Accounting with Bayesian Belief Network modelling of ecosystem service supply to support a structured decision-making approach in an Irish context. The tools developed in For-ES will be transferable to other forest managers, other sectors such as agriculture, and other businesses with large land holdings.









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Updated: Jan 16

Our project is seeking to recruit a PhD student to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to develop Natural Capital Accounts for specific forest sites in Ireland.



These accounts will capture information on forest natural capital stocks (the amount, location and condition of forest habitats), and the flows of ecosystem services (in terms of commercial timber production, carbon sequestration, water retention, biodiversity and recreation).


The PhD student will assist in creation of these accounts, and in the development of an interactive web-based management scenario tool. This will enable decision-makers to make more sustainable decisions regarding forest management.

This Department of Agriculture-supported project will be led by Prof Jane Stout in the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity College Dublin, who will be the primary supervisor for the PhD student. The PhD student will be co-supervised by Dr Catherine Farrell and Professor Yvonne Buckley, also in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity. The PhD student will also work with collaborators at UCD and Coillte. This PhD is a 4-year structured programme, with an anticipated start date of March 2022. It is available to both EU and non-EU applicants, with an €18,000 annual stipend and a contribution of €6,000 per annum towards tuition fees.

Applicants must have:

  • First class or upper second class BSc (Hons) or MSc in environmental sciences, environmental studies, environmental management, ecology, botany, zoology, biology or similar

  • Knowledge of ecosystem services and natural capital concepts, and approaches to assessment

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Excellent numerical/data analytical skills, including GIS

  • Ability to work in academic team and with industry partners

  • Full clean driving licence, valid for Republic of Ireland.


Application Process Informal enquiries should be made to Jane Stout via email stoutj@tcd.ie. Applications can be made by emailing Jane Stout stoutj@tcd.ie by 14th January 2022. Late applications will not be accepted. Applications should include:

  • A curriculum vitae (including the names of two referees, one of which must be an academic referee).

  • A cover letter (maximum 1000 words) outlining the applicant’s research interests and why they are suitable for this project.

Interviews will be held remotely by video-link in early January 2022. The successful applicant will subsequently apply to register as a PhD student through the Trinity College Dublin central portal but must meet all requirements for registration in order to be eligible for this studentship.


Postgraduate admission requirements are available here: https://www.tcd.ie/study/apply/admission-requirements/postgraduate/. The successful applicant will be required to provide evidence of English language competence following the award offer and before registering.

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Updated: Jan 16

Our research project, which will look to co-develop tools for sustainable forestry management decision-making, is led by natural scientists at Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with University College Dublin and Coillte, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.


It is well understood that forestry provides timber but it also supports biodiversity and supplies other public benefits, including carbon capture to tackle climate change. However, unless forestry is managed in a way that recognises these multiple benefits, and decisions are made to consider these additional values, they could become ignored.


FOR-ES will implement a more holistic approach, known as ‘Natural Capital Accounting’, and the research project could have a huge influence on how Ireland approaches forestry in the future. The involvement of Coillte as Ireland’s largest forestry company underlines the potential of the project and the interest in developing new processes for managing Ireland’s forests.


Professor Jane Stout from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences is the project lead. She said:

“I am excited to be working with colleagues in UCD and Coillte on this project, because it builds on seven years of collaboration to bring natural capital approaches to practice and policy through Natural Capital Ireland, and on our ongoing research to apply natural capital accounting methods at various scales.

“This interdisciplinary approach is really important because assessing natural capital stocks and valuing benefits from forests can help enable sustainable decision-making, which is crucial to address the current biodiversity and climate crises.”


This project will develop Natural Capital Accounts for specific forest sites. These accounts will capture information on forest natural capital STOCKS (the amount, location and condition of forest habitats), and the FLOWS of ecosystem services (in terms of commercial timber production, carbon sequestration, water retention, biodiversity and recreation).


Speaking about the potential for the project Imelda Hurley CEO of Coillte said:

“Coillte is delighted to work with Trinity College Dublin and UCD on this exciting and innovative research using natural capital accounting approaches. Forests provide multiple benefits: they clean the air we breathe, are key to tackling climate change (through carbon storage and sequestration), provide essential wood for building our homes and create beautiful biodiverse habitats.


"Additionally forests provide wonderful recreation spaces, known to support our physical and mental health, features which we have come to value significantly more during Covid. This project will allow us to better understand and value those benefits.”


Bayesian Belief Network modelling will be used to understand the effects of different management decisions on ecosystem service flows, and an interactive web-based management scenario tool will be developed.


Project partner, Associate Professor Mary Kelly-Quinn, from the School of Biology and Environmental Science at UCD, added:


“This is the first time a natural capital-accounting approach has been combined with Bayesian Belief Network modelling of ecosystem services supply to support structured decision-making in an Irish context.

The tools developed will help inform forest managers in the design and management of forests for multiple benefits other than just timber production. This work will build on the research undertaken by the EPA-funded ESDecide project, which developed a decision-support tool for management of river ecosystem services.”

The new project also builds on a previous Trinity-led EPA-funded project, INCASE, that developed the processes for natural capital accounting at catchment scale in Ireland, and it runs alongside the Kinsella Challenge-based E3 Multi-disciplinary project FOREST, led by Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences. FOREST is taking a multidisciplinary approach to developing socially just, ecologically sound, and economically viable approaches to native woodland afforestation.


Watch this space for more information on the progress of our project.

Some useful links (more information about natural capital accounting and related projects):


- What is natural capital accounting? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykzFmT4rhmM

- www.incaseproject.com

- www.naturalcapitalireland.com

- www.natureplus.ie

- www.coillte.ie/coillte-nature/coilltenature/

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