Tom Connolly, BSc, PhD


Tom Connolly


Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5925
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Tom Connolly joined Forest Research as a research statistician in 1997. He took an honours degree in statistics at Glasgow University (1985-89) and was awarded a statistics PhD at Heriot-Watt University (1989-92). In 1993 he completed a six month study in specific case analysis with Dr Colin Aitken at Edinburgh University and the Home Office Police Research Group in London. Tom then joined Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) as a consultant statistician (1993-97).

Current role


  • Providing a statistical consultancy service to researchers at Forest Research Northern Research Station.
  • Designing experiments, analysing data and refereeing Forest Research publications with a significant statistical content.
  • Liaising with project leaders on all aspects of experimental design and analysis.

Current programmes

Chalara ash dieback research
Analysis of field trials to identify resistant trees from multiple diseaes assessment scores.

Selection and testing of conifers
Statistical consultant, analysing multi-trait individual-tree data using a pedigree structure.

Wood and timber properties
Statistical consultant, assessing the effect of site factors, e.g., windiness, elevation or yield class, on timber straightness and quality.

Affiliations and achievements

  • Royal Statistical Society Chartered Statistician (CStat) since 2005 and revalidated 2016.
  • Co-recipient of the 1997 P.W. Allen Award presented by the Forensic Science Society for the paper “Statistical modelling in specific case analysis” (Aitken et. al., 1996).

Research areas

  • Spatial indices for the quantification of tree stand dynamics
  • Modelling gene flow in oak and cherry using microsatellite data
  • Modelling the effect of stand parameters on compression wood
  • Determination of genotype by environment interactions and clonal plasticity in Sitka spruce
  • Predicting oak shake from standing tree measurements.

Main recent publications

Trevor Fenning, Margaret O’Donnell, Thomas Connolly and Yill-Sung Park (2016) Prospects for using somatic embryogenesis and cryo-preservation of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) in the UK. Scottish Forestry 70(2),2016:41-49

Harmer, A., Kerr, G., Stokes, V. and Connolly, T. (2016)  The influence of thinning intensity and bramble control on ground flora development in a mixed broadleaved woodland. Forestry 2016; doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpw048

Mason, W. and Connolly, T. (2016)
Long-term development of experimental mixtures of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) in northern Britain.
Annals of Silvicultural Research 40(1),2016:11-18

Marzano, M., Dandy, N., Papazova-Anakieva, I., Avtzis, D., Connolly, T., Eschen, R., Glavendekić, M., Hurley, B., Lindelöw, Å., Matošević, D., Tomov, R. and Vettraino, A. M. (2016) Assessing awareness of tree pests and pathogens amongst tree professionals: A pan-European Perspective.  Forest Policy and Economics 70(2016) 164-171

Lee, S. J., Connolly, T., McG. Wilson, S., Malcolm, D. C., Fonwaben, J., Worrell, R., Hubert, J. and Sykes, R.J. (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

Leveque, J., Marzano, M., Broome, A., Connolly, T. and Dandy, N. (2015) Forest visitor perceptions of recreational impacts on amphibian wildlife. European Journal of Wildlife Research 61(4):505-515. doi: 10.1007/s10344-015-0920-x

Mason, W. L. and Connolly, T. (2014) Mixtures with spruce species can be more productive than monocultures: evidence from the Gisburn experiment in Britain. Forestry 87(2):209-217. doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpt042

Broome, A., Connolly, T. and Quine, C. P. (2014) An evaluation of thinning to improve habitat for capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Forest Ecology and Management 314:94-103

Mason, W. L., McKay, H. M., Weatherall, A., Connolly, T. and Harrison, A. (2012) The effects of whole-tree harvesting on three sites in upland Britain on the growth of Sitka spruce over ten years. Forestry 85 (1):111-123. doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpr064

Brotherstone, S., White, I. M. S., Sykes, R., Thompson, R., Connolly, T., Lee, S and Woolliams, J. (2011). Competition Effects in a Young Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis, Bong. Carr) Clonal Trial. Silvae Genetica 60(3-4):149-155.

Lee, S. J. and Connolly, T. (2010). Finalizing the selection of parents for the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr) breeding population in Britain using Mixed Model Analysis. Forestry 2010; doi:10.1093/forestry/cpq024.

Mochan, S., Moore, J. and Connolly, T. (2009). Using acoustic tools in forestry and the wood supply chain (PDF-315K). Forestry Commission Technical Note 18, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Macdonald, E., Moore, J., Connolly, T., and Gardiner, G. (2009). Developing methods for assessing Scots pine timber quality (PDF-331K). Forestry Commission Research Note 5, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.