Berglind Karlsdóttir: PhD student

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BSc (University of the West of England), MSc (Imperial College London)

Through her PhD, Berglind aims to understand how human values and wellbeing are affected by large scale tree planting. Due to trees’ ability to store carbon, tree planting has become an integral part of nature-based solutions to climate change.

For example, the UK government has pledged to plant 30,000 hectares every year by 2025. A key question, then, is where are these trees going to be planted? While we know quite a bit about the environmental conditions supporting large scale tree planting, we know much less about how people will be impacted by such changes to their local environments. In fact, little research has attempted to measure changes to human values and wellbeing based on changes in any living environments. Insights into such impacts can help guide decisions around planting locations as well as engagement with local communities where such changes are planned.

The PhD is an interdisciplinary project and will be using mixed methods to investigate changes to human wellbeing and values. Three case study areas will be chosen with large scale tree planting projects at different stages in rural and peri-urban locations. In each area, a survey will ask local residents to pinpoint locations of significance to them on a map, and identify how and why they are significant. This method is called Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (or PPGIS). Interviews will then be used to investigate local residents’ experiences of the tree planting schemes. Both the survey and the interviews will be repeated after 3-4 years to assess changes over time. This approach is inspired by Brown and Donovan (2013) and Brown and Weber (2012).

Berglind is conducting her PhD part-time while continuing her employment as a Social Scientist with Forest Research. She is supervised by Julie Urquhart (CCRI), Liz O’Brien (Forest Research) and Robert Berry (CCRI). The PhD is funded by the ESRC Wales Doctoral Programme under the Environmental Planning pathway. Berglind is also a member of the Social Research Association and the Royal Forestry Society, and she is a committee member for the Sims Hill Community Woodland.


  • O’BRIEN, L., KARLSDÓTTIR, B., AMBROSE-OJI, B., URQUHART, J., EDWARDS, D., AMBOAGE, R. & JONES, G. (2021). How Can Local and Regional Knowledge Networks Contribute to Landscape Level Action for Tree Health? Forests, 12, 1394.
  • KARLSDÓTTIR, B., KNIGHT, A. T., JOHNSON, K. & DAWSON, J. (2021). Lessons from practitioners for designing and implementing effective amphibian captive breeding programmes. Oryx, 55, 382-392.
  • JERVIS, P., KARLSDÓTTIR, B., JEHLE, R., ALMEIDA-REINOSO, D., ALMEIDA-REINOSO, F., RON, S., FISHER, M. C. & MERINO-VITERI, A. (2020). Disease reservoirs threaten the recently rediscovered Podocarpus Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus podocarpus). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation.