Alexia Stokes is one of the world’s leading experts on tree root growth and biomechanics. She applies her knowledge to better understand how to manage trees growing in mechanically challenging environments, such on steep slopes, on degraded soil or in windy conditions. Working in a variety of environments, from tropical urban forests, to temperate agroforests and subalpine natural forest, Alexia has a wide range of experience in different climates and with different species. Co-author of over 60 papers in top-ranking journals and 3 books, Alexia has a strong background in fundamental research, but studies are always carried out with the practitioner in mind.
Dr. Stokes received her PhD from the University of York UK in 1994. In collaboration with the Forestry Commission in Edinburgh, she studied the growth responses of young trees subjected to wind loading. Alexia’s particular interest was to understand how tree growth and architecture adapts to mechanical stresses, with a special focus on the root system. After post-doctoral study in Germany, examining root wood strength, Alexia began work at INRA, Bordeaux, France.
Working principally on Maritime pine, Alexia and colleagues investigated tree root anchorage with regard to wind storms. In 2005, Alexia began work in China for 2 years, studying how vegetation (plant root systems) could be used to fix soil on slopes against landslides and erosion. She is now based at INRA, Montpellier, France and continues her work on tree mechanics and slope stability in the French Alps and southern China. Recent interests include the ecophysiology of tree root growth at high altitudes and in winter, as well as an understanding of global patterns in root functional traits.
IASHK 2014: Hanging by Their Roots, Trees and Slippery Slopes
Partial List of Published Papers:
- Phototropic response induced by wind loading in Maritime pine seedlings (Pinus pinaster Aı¨t.)
- Selecting tree species for use in rockfall-protection forests
- Wood Formation in Trees
- Plant Biomechanical Strategies In Response To Frequent Disturbance: Uprooting Of Phyllostachys Nidularia (Poaceae) Growing On Landslide-Prone Slopes In Sichuan, China