Rob Sykes

Tree Breeder

Rob Sykes


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5992
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Rob joined the Forestry Commission in 1984 as a forester at Tay Forest District. In 1987 Rob joined Forest Research and following time spent as a field station based research forester he moved to Northern Research Station in 1997 to support the conifer and broadleaf breeding programme.

Current role

Tree breeder

Support role for the conifer and broadleaf breeding programme:

  • Organisation and management of all field experiments to support the conifer and broadleaf breeding programmes, including managing plant raising, allocation and dispatch to sites.
  • Liaison with Project Leaders, partners and field staff to ensure full compliance with experiment objectives, quality standards and financial constraints.

Current projects

  • Resistance breeding - organising ongoing site management, assessment and data processing for 14 ash Chalara fraxinea mass screening trials in East Anglia and Kent plus 3 trial sites established as part of the Living Ash Project
  • Resistance breeding - organising ash species grafting from arboreta around the UK for an LWEC funded contract with the view to establishing field based Chalara fraxinea screening trials
  • Broadleaf breeding - supporting Future Trees Trust breeding programme for ash, oak, birch and sycamore
  • Conifer breeding - managing field-based aspects of Sitka spruce marker aided selection
  • Conifer breeding - supporting the pollination and grafting programmes being pursued by the Conifer Breeding Co-Operative

Affiliations and achievements

  • Member of the Conifer Breeding Co-Operative Management Team
  • Member of the Future Trees Trust ash, oak, birch and sycamore species groups

Main recent publications and knowledge exchange activities

Lee SJ, Connolly T, McG.Wilson SMcG, Malcolm DC, 3, Fonweban J, Worrell JR, Hubert J and Sykes RJ (2015)  Early height growth of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) provenances and implications for choice of planting stock in Britain. Forestry 88 (4): 484-499. doi:10.1093/forestry/cpv018

Brotherstone, S., White, I.M.S., Sykes, R., Thompson, R., Connolly, T., Lee, S., and Woolliams, J. (2010). Competition Effects in a Young Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis, Bong. Carr) Clonal Trial. Silvae Gentica 60, 3-4 (2011).