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Gabrielle Powell – University of Reading

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Gabrielle Powell

Evaluating the multiple functions of woodlands for natural flood management (NFM).

The evidence base to support NFM measures is variable, and particularly gaps exist on how effective different measures are in lowland groundwater dominated catchments compared to upland surface water dominated catchments where most research has been carried out to date. This project aims to address this knowledge gap and aims to explore the role of community engagement with NFM.

Project Objectives:

  1. Evaluate the impact of woody leaky barriers on peak flow using field monitoring data.
  2. Evaluate the impact of woodlands on infiltration and soil water storage.
  3. Assess the role of community engagement and knowledge in NFM project design, delivery, and monitoring

Two key field sites have been chosen, one in the Pang Valley in Berkshire, and another in North Warnborough, Hampshire.

Partners: Thames Water, Hart District Council, Pang Valley Flood Forum, Englefield Estate, Forest Research, TWENTY65


About Me:

I hold a First-Class BSc in Human and Physical Geography from the University of Reading. My undergraduate dissertation studied the effects of different leaf litter management in urban greenspaces and their effects on soil properties relating to flood mitigation. I was approached to work on the LANDWISE project as a PhD researcher before having graduated from by Bachelors, so I have limited professional experience although I am well integrated within academia at Reading. I demonstrate on multiple undergraduate modules, accompanying them on fieldtrips and helping to mark their work. I have a special interest in community flood group voluntarism, having previously volunteered for Hart District Council monitoring local nature reserves and wildlife and helping at their volunteer centre. Although my research is entirely UK-based, having grown up abroad and as a third-culture-kid, I endeavour to explore the applicability of my research to other flood risk communities internationally.

Research Interests:

Flow, NFM, Monitoring, Community, Engagement.

Research Groups:

Environmental Science Research Division


Human Geography Research Cluster 

  Gabby Powell


Twitter: @GabbyPowellPhD 

Linked in


Professor Joanna Clark (University of Reading)

Professor Hilary Geoghegan (University of Reading)

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