EGU22-10135, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Using art to enliven research on deadwood

Nerea Ferrando Jorge1, Vicky Shannon1,2, Joanna Clark1, Liz Shaw1, Elena Vanguelova2, and James Morison2
Nerea Ferrando Jorge et al.
  • 1Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
  • 2Forest Research, United Kingdom

Often scientists think of creating visuals like graphs, tables, and charts to better convey their research or make it more appealing to a broader public. However, some data or scientific concepts are complex and difficult to grasp. Instead, art is a universal language. This has led to a tremendous growth in data visualisation using art in the last decade.

At the University of Reading, a team of scientists are collaborating with environmental scientist and visual artist, Nerea Ferrando, to enliven the important story of deadwood for forest functioning. Deadwood refers to trees, or parts of a tree, that are dying or have died. Research in this field is increasingly showing that deadwood stabilises forests, sustains productivity, stores carbon, and provides food and a home for thousands of species, including invertebrates, fungi, as well as birds and mammals. Yet, despite its enormous ecological significance, deadwood remains one of the most threatened habitats in managed forests. Its amount, quality, and diversity is usually heavily reduced by forestry as a common strategy to control pests or make sites accessible.

The artist is creating a series of works to bring to light this less visible part of the forest and help communicate specific aspects of the research findings, such as its unrecognized role in the carbon cycle, the impact of deadwood on biodiversity, or exposing contradictory views on best management practices.

Ultimately, the science-artwork seeks to promote consciousness and awareness of the value of deadwood and the benefits it provides. Raising awareness is essential because, to date, deadwood continues to receive little attention and the adoption of management strategies that create or maintain a variety of deadwood are needed to protect forest health.

How to cite: Ferrando Jorge, N., Shannon, V., Clark, J., Shaw, L., Vanguelova, E., and Morison, J.: Using art to enliven research on deadwood, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10135,, 2022.