The contribution of trees and urban forests to ecosystem services and biodiversity in Coventry

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary and tuition fees

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023 (international), 31 August 2023 (UK)

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz

Project details

This PhD project will evaluate the contribution of trees and urban forests to ecosystem services and biodiversity in Coventry. Trees in urban areas provide a wide range of social and environmental benefits and increasing the number of trees has high priority in urban planning. Benefits including the value of carbon storage, the mitigation of air pollution and flooding can be estimated using the iTree Eco methodology (, however, biodiversity is not assessed.

Combining iTree methodology with biodiversity assessment is a novel approach which will produce a more comprehensive analysis of the benefits of urban trees in Coventry. In the first year the student will sample Coventry’s trees following iTree methodology. Following this biodiversity will be assessed in selected sub-plots extracted from the iTree survey. The assessment of biodiversity will include the use of audiomoths to assess bird and bat diversity, and standard methods to assess plant and invertebrate diversity. All results will then be combined to estimate the overall value of existing tree cover in Coventry, identify areas for new tree plantings while maximising the benefits for ecosystem services and biodiversity. Based on data on species, to model resilience of tree cover in Coventry to climate change projections.


Tuition fees and bursary (£18,622 p/a).


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills. 

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

For further details please visit:

How to apply

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.  

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz

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