Trees and Woodlands Scientific Advisory Group

The Trees and Woodlands Scientific Advisory Group (TAW-SAG) provides independent advice to support woodland creation and improve woodland management.

The Trees and Woodlands Scientific Advisory Group (TAW-SAG) provides expert scientific input, challenge and assurance to Defra on the use of evidence and analysis to support woodland creation and improve woodland management.

TAW-SAG was established on 22 April 2021.

Terms of reference

TAW-SAG will provide balanced scientific advice to the England tree planting programme, ensuring that Defra receives input from a wide range of scientific experts and disciplines.

See the full terms of reference (PDF, 172 KB, 12 pages).


Current members are:

  • Rob MacKenzie, Chair, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham; Birmingham Institute of Forest Research
  • Ian Bateman, Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute, University of Exeter
  • Richard Buggs, observer, Plant Health Group, Kew Gardens
  • Paul Burgess, Ecology and Management, Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute, Cranfield University
  • Stephen Cavers, Ecology Evolution and Environmental Change, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Keith Kirby, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Ruth Mitchell, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Group, Ecological Sciences Department, James Hutton Institute
  • Mike Morecroft, observer, Principal Specialist on climate change, Natural England and Visiting Professor, University of Reading
  • Chris Quine, observer, Chief Scientist, Forest Research
  • Maggie Roe, Landscape Planning Research and Policy Engagement, University of Newcastle
  • Patricia Thornley, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aston University
  • Julie Urquhart, Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire
  • Clive Potter, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London
  • John Healey, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University
  • Martin Lukac, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading

Observers are members of the TAW-SAG who are also affiliated with Defra arm’s length bodies. To preserve the independence of advice relating to statutory targets, the observers of the group will be required to abstain from any discussion or advice provided on targets.


Earlier minutes are available on the National Archives


Contact details