Tijana BlanusaTijana leads our Ecosystem Services Research Programme, identifying the structural and functional traits of plants that can be isolated, optimised and employed to benefit the wider environment – for example how leaf size might offer cooling advantages, mitigate flood risk or improve air quality.

She joined the RHS in October 2003, straight after finishing a PhD in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at East Malling Research and Lancaster University, an experience which Tijana said “changed my life”.

What do you do?

I lead and deliver RHS research on environmental benefits of gardens and urban green infrastructure. I am particularly interested in plants’ contribution to urban cooling, rainfall mitigation and air quality improvement. We are working to understand which underlying plant traits are needed for them to deliver multiple benefits.

My post is based at the University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development) where I teach a Part3/MSc module on green infrastructure and Ecosystem Services and supervise under graduate, masters and PhD students.


"I take a lot of pleasure in collaborating scientifically – I have had wonderful experiences with colleagues in Serbia, Italy and round the UK.  Collaborations take good will, compromise and mutual understanding, but bring so much in return – both professionally and personally."


Why is your research important?

It provides information to gardeners about on the benefits their garden planting can bring to themselves and the wider environment. Hopefully encouraging them to keep as much of their garden green as possible.

My research highlights how a ‘humble’ hedge can provide so many benefits – protection from noise, improving air quality, reducing flooding risk and benefitting biodiversity. It also gives guidance on what plant characteristics you need in your planting to maximise those benefits.

Projects:

  • Hedges and provision of multiple ecosystem services
  • Watering strategies for house plants
  • Green walls and biodiversity: investigating green walls for invertebrate abundance and diversity
  • Investigating the impact of plants on indoor air quality: a multi-scale cross-disciplinary approach (PhD Supervisor)
  • Maximising the environmental and social benefits of gardens in the modern housing market (PhD Supervisor)
  • The impact of plants on the design of healthy office environments (PhD Supervisor)

Science

With your support, we can undertake valuable research into gardening pests and diseases.

Join the RHS

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.