Matthew Forrest

Dr. Matthew Forrest

Member of
Research Group 'Quantitative Biogeography'
Member of 'Data and Modelling Centre'

Research interests

The main focuses of my research are vegetation and ecosystem processes and the role of vegetation in the Earth system. To study these topics I use process-based models (primarily the Dynamic Global Vegetation Model LPJ-GUESS) applied to spatial scales ranging from regional to global. Whilst much of my work involves improving the vegetation simulations for the present day and recent past (in particular utilising the wealth of remote sensing data made available by satellites) I also study vegetation in past geological ages (the Miocene) and simulate the effects of climate change on a vegetation and ecosystem functioning in the forthcoming century.

Specific projects

• Climate Change Impacts in Turkish Vegetation - A BMBF-funded project in collaboration with Turkish and British partners.  The overall goal is to produce a high-resolution environmental-risk map of the consequences of climate change in Turkey. Our role is to adapt the global version LPJ-GUESS to better describe the Turkish vegetation and then project the future changes to vegetation and productivity using climate data from a regional climate model.  The study is performed at a 1km resolution and makes use of both remotely sensed data and field observation from Turkish partners. In particular the very high spatial resolution (1km) and the use of locally-gathered soil depth information (novel for LPJ-GUESS but critical for calculating plant-available water in arid zones) are of particular value for this regional impacts study. 

• Vegetation in the Miocene - Using the output from a palaeoclimate model to provide meteorological data for LPJ-GUESS we are reconstructing the vegetation in Late Miocene (~10 million years ago) and investigating CO2 concentrations and some of the atmosphere-biosphere interactions that shaped our planet's evolution.

• Coupling LPJ-GUESS to an Atmospheric Chemistry enabled GCM - With support from MPI Chemistry in Mainz I am working to couple LPJ-GUESS to the EMAC atmospheric chemistry model utilising the powerful MESSy interface.  This work will enabled investigations of many atmosphere-biosphere interactions and feedbacks including: trace gas emissions from vegetation and fire, changing vegetation structure and function, tropospheric ozone damage to plants and Nitrogen fertilisation and emissions.

• Fire in the Earth System – I am also working to improve the process-based representation of wildfire (in particular the SPITFIRE model) in vegetation models. Fire is key in shaping the functioning and structure of large areas of the terrestrial land surface and is responsible for large carbon dioxide and other trace gas fluxes. 

I am also the BiK-F liaison with the Frankfurt Cloud, a collaborative venture between Goethe University of Frankfurt and sponsors including Deutsche Bank AG and Interxion Deutschland GmbH.


2010 PhD awarded, University of Glasgow
2005-2010 PhD Studies in experimental high-energy physics, University of Glasgow/Deutsches Electronen Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg
2005 MSci awarded, University of Glasgow
2001-2005 BSc/MSci Studies in Physics and Mathematics, University of Glasgow


As is apparent from my CV and previous publications, I am new to the area of Earth Systems Science, my previous research life was in the field of Experimental Particle Physics. I hope to bring ideas and techniques from Physics to my new endeavours.

Outside of science I enjoy playing football, various games of skill and chance, music and devil's advocate. I also like to get out into the world and spend slightly too much time worrying about the state of things.  



Phone: 069 7542 1867