Dr Ross Cameron
Department of Landscape Architecture
+44 114 222 0614
Full contact details
Department of Landscape Architecture
I am a landscape horticulturalist specializing in the use and value of landscape plants.
My current research interests centre around green infrastructure and climate change mitigation, with a strong emphasis on providing recommendations on plant species choice with respect to ecosystem function (city cooling, thermal insulation, flood tolerance, biodiversity enhancement).
This includes currently supervising PhD projects on improving the thermal performance of buildings through appropriate plant selection e.g. on both green walls and green roofs.
I am also interested in identifying those plant species robust enough to tolerate urban conditions (both current and future), whilst meeting their specifications for performance. Recent studies include investigations into Mediterranean species that tolerate winter flooding, and how warmer autumns affect the development of young ornamental trees.
- Research interests
- Benefits of urban plants as determined by plant species choice
- Gardens / Gardening for health and well-being
- Climate change and urban plants
- Green walls and building insulation
- Landscape plants and urban water management
Developing more sustainable landscape management techniques is a key driver in much of my research, and I have been involved in a number of projects investigating more efficient use of resources (water, organic waste streams as soil amendments, alternative growing media and energy).
I led a DEFRA LINK project - Efficient use of water in horticulture which proposed a 2/3 reduction in water use during the production of ornamental plants. This project involved 14 partner organizations and was rated 9/10 by DEFRA – one of the highest-ranking scores at the time.
I have also more recently conducted projects evaluating the use of grey water for landscape applications. I work closely with industry partners, for example, the Horticultural Trades Association on the ‘carbon footprint’ of plant production and maintenance; and the Royal Horticultural Society on maximizing invertebrate biodiversity through the appropriate use of garden ornamentals.
As a landscape horticulturalist, I also am very keen to understand more about how people relate to the landscape and what sorts of plant-based designs provide strong resonance with the public and why?
I am particularly interested in the relationship between plants, ‘naturalistic’ landscapes and human well-being. As such I have worked on a number of consultations with stakeholders in this field, including MIND, the horticultural therapy charity THRIVE, The Royal Neurological Hospital and the Landscape Institute.
Funded Research Projects
- 2011 National Horticultural Fellowship (HDC/EMT/ HTA) – Nutrient management in ornamentals
- 2011 Establishment and management of Malaysian landscape ornamentals (Malaysian Gov.)
- 2010 Evaluating the potential of the non-grass lawn (various sponsors)
- 2010 Green roof plant species for the Mediterranean climate (Portuguese Gov.)
- 2010 RHS KTP – Plants for BUGS
- 2008 HTA Investigating the environmental impacts of gardening in the UK
- 2007 HDC Optimising leaf defoliation in young trees
- 2007 Grantscape- Market development for lower grade composts
- 2006 HDC Bedding plants – benchmarking current transport
- 2006 RHS Waterlogging intolerance and its remediation in Mediterranean plants
- 2004-2011 RHS Physiological development in garden plants.
- 2003-2011 HTA Reviews for ‘Plant for life’
- 2002 DEFRA Conventional and biotechnological genetic improvement of hardy nursery stock
- 2002 DEFRA To identify and overcome constraints to the efficient and consistent production of HNS in the UK.
- 2002 EU Framework Programme V. Improving Fraxinus (Ash) productivity for European needs by testing, selection, propagation and promotion of improved genetic resources.
- 2002 DEFRA Hortlink Improving the control and efficiency of water use in container-grown hardy ornamental nursery stock.
Areas of Potential Research Degree Supervision
- Landscape plants and ecosystem services
- Plant adaptation to stress
- Habitat Management
- Plant-people relationships
- View this article in WRRO Environmental Horticulture: Science and Management of Green Landscapes. Croydon: Cabi.
- Updating and backdating analyses for mitigating uncertainties in land change modeling: a case study of the Ci Kapundung upper water catchment area, Java Island, Indonesia. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 36(12), 2549-2562.
- Green infrastructure for air quality plus (GI4AQ+): defining critical dimensions for implementation in schools and the meaning of ‘plus’ in a UK context. Nature-Based Solutions, 2. View this article in WRRO
- Microbiome-Inspired green infrastructure: a bioscience roadmap for urban ecosystem health. Architectural Research Quarterly, 25(4), 292-303.
- ‘Green barriers’ for air pollutant capture : leaf micromorphology as a mechanism to explain plants capacity to capture particulate matter. Environmental Pollution, 288. View this article in WRRO
- Germaphobia! does our relationship with and knowledge of biodiversity affect our attitudes toward microbes?. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. View this article in WRRO
- The effects of anthropogenic sound and artificial light exposure on microbiomes: ecological and public health implications. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9. View this article in WRRO
- Exposure to airborne bacteria depends upon vertical stratification and vegetation complexity. Scientific Reports, 11. View this article in WRRO
- Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening. Cities, 112.
- Gardens with kerb appeal - a framework to understand the relationship between Britain in Bloom gardeners and their front gardens. Leisure Sciences. View this article in WRRO
- Nature’s role in supporting health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a geospatial and socioecological study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5). View this article in WRRO
- Vertical stratification in urban green space aerobiomes. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(11). View this article in WRRO
- The holobiont blindspot: relating host-microbiome interactions to cognitive biases and the concept of the “Umwelt”. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. View this article in WRRO
- “It made me feel brighter in myself”- The health and well-being impacts of a residential front garden horticultural intervention. Landscape and Urban Planning, 205.
- Cut-off in their prime? Response of two landscape shrubs to different levels of root pruning, during active and quiescent growth phases. The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. View this article in WRRO
- Let nature be thy medicine: A socioecological exploration of green prescribing in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10). View this article in WRRO
- Using big data to improve ecotype matching for Magnolias in urban forestry. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 48. View this article in WRRO
- The good things in urban nature: A thematic framework for optimising urban planning for nature connectedness. Landscape and Urban Planning, 194. View this article in WRRO
- Tropical urban parks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : challenging the attitudes of park management teams towards a more environmentally sustainable approach. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. View this article in WRRO
- Where the wild things are! Do urban green spaces with greater avian biodiversity promote more positive emotions in humans?. Urban Ecosystems. View this article in WRRO
- Bringing fronts back : a research agenda to investigate the health and well-being impacts of front gardens. Challenges, 10(2), 37-37. View this article in WRRO
- Urban hedges : a review of plant species and cultivars for ecosystem service delivery in north-west Europe. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 44. View this article in WRRO
- Rewilding in the garden : are garden hybrid plants (cultivars) less resilient to the effects of hydrological extremes than their parent species? A case study with Primula. Urban Ecosystems, 1-14. View this article in WRRO
- An iterative landscape planning process for sustaining flood regulation in the Ci Kapundung upper water catchment area, Bandung Basin, Indonesia. Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture, 4, 33-41. View this article in WRRO
- Is more always better? Exploring field survey and social media indicators of quality of urban greenspace, in relation to health. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 39, 45-54. View this article in WRRO
- Future development scenarios for adaptation to climate change in the Ci Kapundung upper water catchment area, Bandung Basin, Indonesia. Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture, 2018(3), 23-33. View this article in WRRO
- To green or not to green! That is the question. Does green infrastructure provide significant thermo-regulation in a maritime temperate climate?. Acta Horticulturae, 1189, 209-216. View this article in WRRO
- How fast can conifers climb mountains? Investigating the effects of a changing climate on the viability of Juniperus seravschanica within the mountains of Oman, and developing a conservation strategy for this tree species. Journal of Arid Environments, 147, 40-53. View this article in WRRO
- Functional green roofs: Importance of plant choice in maximising summertime environmental cooling and substrate insulation potential. Energy and Buildings, 141, 56-68. View this article in WRRO
- Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services – Is the Devil in the Detail?. Annals of Botany, 118(3), 377-391. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Student Project: Assessing the effects of drought and temperature on the establishment of Juniperus seravschanica saplings in northern Oman. Sibbaldia: the Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, 14, 37-53.
- Relative importance of transpiration rate and leaf morphological traits for the regulation of leaf temperature. Australian Journal of Botany, 64(1), 32-44. View this article in WRRO
- Implication of plant selection for building insulation. Acta Horticulturae(1108), 339-344.
- The role of shrubs and climbers on improving thermal performance of brick walls during winter. Acta Horticulturae(1108), 353-359.
- Root and shoot development in ornamental shrubs: the influence of compacted soil and altered root geometry. Acta Horticulturae(1108), 213-220.
- A Hedera green façade – Energy performance and saving under different maritime-temperate, winter weather conditions. Building and Environment, 92, 111-121. View this article in WRRO
- Do protocols for the intensive production of Coreopsis grandiflora affect its garden performance?. Scientia Horticulturae, 175, 236-242. View this article in WRRO
- What's 'cool' in the world of green façades? How plant choice influences the cooling properties of green walls. Building and Environment, 73, 198-207. View this article in WRRO
- Flooding tolerance in four 'Garrigue' landscape plants: Implications for their future use in the urban landscapes of north-west Europe?. Landscape and Urban Planning.
- Alternatives to Sedum on green roofs: Can broad leaf perennial plants offer better 'cooling service'?. Building and Environment.
- The domestic garden - Its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening.
- The domestic garden - Its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 11(2), 129-137.
- Gibberellin-mediated suppression of floral initiation in the long-day plant Rhododendron cv. Hatsugiri. Scientia Horticulturae, 124(2), 231-238.
- Sub-irrigation of Petunia: benefits in dry summers. Acta Horticulturae, 881, 457-462.
- Ornamental Mediterranean plants in the UK: Root adaptations to hypoxia and anoxia.. Acta Horticulturae, 881, 469-474.
- Chill unit models for blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) cultivars ‘Ben Gairn’, ‘Ben Hope’ and ‘Ben Tirran’.. Scientia Horticulturae, 122, 654-657.
- Water deficits promote flowering in Rhododendron via regulation of pre and post initiation development.. Scientia Horticulturae, 120, 511-517.
- Growth and flowering of Petunia and Impatiens: Effects of competition and reduced water content within a container.. Hortscience, 44, 1302-1307.
- Regulated irrigation of woody ornamentals to improve plant quality and precondition against drought stress.. Annals of Applied Biology, 153, 49-61.
- Shoot dieback in clipped young Golden Leyland (Cupressocyparis leylandii) trees - a physiological mechanism?. Arboricultural Journal, 31, 109-122.
- Root pruning as a means to encourage root growth in two ornamental shrubs, buddleja davidii 'Summer Beauty' and cistus 'Snow Fire'. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 82(4), 521-528.
- Regulated deficit irrigation - A means to control growth in woody ornamentals. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 81(3), 435-443.
- The effects of photoperiod and light spectrum on stock plant growth and rooting of cuttings of Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 80(2), 245-253.
- Can Trait-Based Schemes Be Used to Select Species in Urban Forestry?. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 3.
- Microbiome-Inspired Green Infrastructure (MIGI): A Bioscience Roadmap for Urban Ecosystem Health.
- Exposure to Airborne Bacteria Depends upon Vertical Stratification and Vegetation Complexity.
- Relating Plant Hydraulics and Traits in the Context of Climatic Niche.
- Nursery Stock and Houseplant Production, Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences (pp. 228-235). Elsevier
- Amenity Horticulture, Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences (pp. 186-192). Elsevier
- Health, well-being and socio-cultural benefits In Ingram DS, Vince-Prue D & Gregory P (Ed.), Science and the Garden: The Scientific Basis of Horticultural Practice, 3rd Edition 392 pages December 2015, Wiley-Blackwell Wiley.
- Interior landscapes, Horticulture: Plants for People and Places, Volume 2: Environmental Horticulture (pp. 763-786).
- Health and well-being, Horticulture: Plants for People and Places, Volume 3: Social Horticulture (pp. 1001-1023).
- Interior Landscapes, Horticulture: Plants for People and Places, Volume 2 (pp. 763-786). Springer Netherlands
- Health and Well-Being, Horticulture: Plants for People and Places, Volume 3 (pp. 1001-1023). Springer Netherlands
Conference proceedings papers
- Improving the functionality of the “sponge” – Does plant choice matter?. SUDSnet International Conference. Coventry, UK, 30 August 2018 - 31 August 2018.
- Evapo-transpiration traits of ground cover landscape plants that aid stormwater management in urban areas. World Green Infrastructure Congress, 4 June 2018 - 6 June 2018.
- Rainfall interception and retention by different vegetation covers under simulated rainfall. Proceedings of Green Infrastructure: Nature Based Solutions for Sustainable and Resilient Cities, 4 April 2017 - 7 April 2017.
- Regulation of plant growth in container-grown ornamentals through the use of controlled irrigation. Acta Horticulturae, Vol. 630 (pp 305-312)
- Future Development Scenarios for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Ci Kapundung Upper Water Catchment Area, Bandung Basin, Indonesia. JoDLA (Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture) 2018, 30 May 2018 - 1 June 2018.
- Research group
- Teaching interests
- Director of Research
- Director – Centre for Urban Biodiversity, University of Reading - 2008 onwards
- Director – Student Career Development
- Deputy Director – Centre for Horticulture and Landscape - 2002 onwards
- Admission Tutor - B.Sc. Biological Sciences 2006-2010
- External Examiner – University of Greenwich 2008
- Teaching activities
- LSC 235 Landscape Ecology - Habitat Survey Techniques
- LSC 335 Landscape Ecology - Habitat Creation and Restoration
- LSC 5210 Habitat Management
- LSC 6008 Greenspace Maintenance
- LSC 6023 Research Methods in Landscape
- LSC 6024 Contemporary Issues in Landscape Research
- LSC 6150 Appreciation of Landscape
- Professional activities
Academic Member of the Landscape Institute (Royal Chartered Body for Landscape Architects in the United Kingdom).
Invited scientific ‘advisor’ to:
- The Agriculture and Horticultural Development Council. (Landscape and Ornamental Horticulture Panel)
- The Royal Horticultural Society.
- The ‘Plant for Life’ and ‘Greening the UK’ initiatives.
- Thrive (UK’s largest Horticultural Therapy Charity). 2003-2011
Extra Mural and Professional Activities
My professional activities are focused around climate change adaptation and more efficient use of resources, with advice being sought by Government and Industry.
For example, my work with the ‘Greening the UK’ initiative has informed DEFRA’s latest white paper and policy formation in general. In addition, I have had direct engagement with 3 different UK Secretaries of State in the last 2 years and 4 invitations to attend parliamentary committees.
My contribution to impact extends to numerous media appearances and broadcasts, including national radio and television. I have also won a number of awards for my teaching and contributions to enhancing student employability.