Dr Roland Ennos
My research concentrates on the engineering of plant and animal structures and on how vegetation can improve the urban environment, and I am particularly interested in trees. For instance we still have a lot to learn about what gives wood its impressive properties. We are currently working on how branches break when bent, and collaborating with Myerscough College to study how tree forks fail. Man’s long history of exploiting wood has also greatly influenced our evolution and cultural development. We are currently looking at how our close relatives the orangutans build their nests, and move about on flexible branches, and are starting to investigate how humans developed woodworking.
We are also investigating how trees can improve cities, providing cooling and preventing flash flooding. We have already carried out modelling studies to quantify these benefits and are collaborating with the Red Rose Forest, Manchester City Council and Barcham Trees to perform experiments. We have set up living laboratories in Manchester to measure how much tree cool people by shading them, counter the urban heat island and reduce rainfall runoff. We are also investigating how the growth and environmental performance of trees is influenced by their planting regime and climate change.