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We areForest Research

Forest Research is Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research. We are internationally renowned for providing evidence and scientific services to support sustainable forestry.

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Tools & Resources

UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)

The reference standard for sustainable forest management in the UK. The UKFS applies to all woodland in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, irrespective of who owns or manages it.

National Forest Inventory

The National Forest Inventory (NFI) programme monitors woodland and trees within Great Britain. It includes the most in depth survey carried out on Britain’s woodlands to date.

Statistics

We produce statistics on a wide range of topics related to forestry.

Pest and Disease Resources

Our trees are under threat from a range of pests and diseases. This page provides links to many of the tree pest and disease resources available from our website.

Ecological Site Classification

Ecological Site Classification (ESC) is a web-based decision support system to help forest managers and planners select tree species that are ecologically suited to particular sites.

Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus)

Ash dieback is a highly destructive disease of ash trees (Fraxinus species), especially the United Kingdom’s native ash species, common ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

Oak processionary moth

The caterpillars (larvae) of oak processionary moth (OPM) are pests of oak trees (trees in the Quercus genus), and a hazard to human and animal health.

Ramorum disease

Phytophthora ramorum is a highly destructive, algae-like organism called a water mould. It causes extensive damage and death to more than 150 plant species, including some forest species.

Acute oak decline

Acute oak decline is an emerging disease of oak trees which was first observed in the UK late in the 20th century. It can kill oak trees within four to six years of the onset of symptoms.

How to Calculate Species Diversity

You first need to calculate the total area of your forest and the area covered by each species. This may be available from inventory data or you might need to carry out a forest survey.

Social and environmental justice

Deprived groups may experience differential access to greenspaces and associated services, which may be detrimental to their well-being.

Carbon emissions of different fuels

Approximate lifecycle carbon emissions of a number of different fuels for heating, transport and power.

Publications

We publish a wide range of information in support of sustainable forest management in Britain. Publications are organised by category in the filtered search below. Our catalogue includes the FC publication library and archive as well as Forest Research articles and guidance.

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Research

You will find information about topics we are currently working on as well as archived material from completed projects. Current topics are what we see as being the key scientific challenges for our sector over the next few years, and details of the types of research we are undertaking in response.

Research

Services

Social and Economic research services

We carry out research to develop a better understanding of the ways in which trees and woodlands can benefit society

Plant, tree, soil and water testing

Chemical analysis of planet, water and soil samples, testing of plant stock quality and tree assessment products

Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service

The Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service provide advice and where possible diagnosis and identification of tree pest and pathogen

Woodland Heritage Services

Forest Research offers full service for woodland owners, ranging from complete lidar ground, mapping to heritage and cultural project management.

DNA-based species identification

By analysis of DNA extracted from samples, Forest Research can identify the presence of cryptic or reclusive species.

Land Use and Ecosystem Services

The Land Use and Ecosystem Services Research Group provides services to the forestry and environment sectors.

Technical Services Unit

The Technical Services Unit (TSU) provides technical and environmental services to a broad range of customers across the UK.

DNA Fingerprinting

Forest Research uses micro-satellite analysis to produce DNA fingerprints from individual plants.

Technical Development services

Technical Development develops, evaluates and promotes safe and efficient equipment and methods of work and provides output information, specialist services and advice on forest operations.

Pest Management

Our approach to management is to breed and release a host-specific predatory beetle, Rhizophagus grandis, that is found within the pest’s natural range.

Urban Trees

Our scientists work on topics relating to planning, management and the protection of urban trees.

Habitat network analysis service

Spatial analysis techniques for habitat networks and working with / delivering tailored habitat network analyses.

Pesticides efficacy testing

Plant protection products – herbicides, insecticides and biocides – are only approved for sale and use in the UK once they have completed rigorous registration test.

Recent News

The guide outlines the steps that can be taken to foster woodlands which will be resilient to current and future threats as a result of climate change

A state-of-the-art laboratory conducting innovative research into tree pests and diseases has been officially opened today (Friday 13 May) by Defra and the Forestry Commission, as part of National Plant Health Week. The £5.8 million Forest Research Holt Laboratory, located within the Alice Holt Forest in Surrey, will bring together leading scientists to undertake research on pests and pathogens which could be detrimental or seriously damaging to our forests. This will inform UK-wide efforts to combat ongoing pest and disease outbreaks, including from Oak processionary moth, Ips typographus and Phytophthora pluvialis, as well as emerging potential threats from abroad as a result of our warming climate, such as Emerald ash borer and Citrus longhorn beetle. The launch of the Holt Laboratory and the Centre for Forest Protection represents a significant expansion of the UK’s capacity and capability to combat tree pests and diseases and manage emerging threats, including climate change. By assessing the pests and pathogens in a contained laboratory, scientists from Forest Research – Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research – will be able to study them in a safe and controlled manner using cutting-edge technology and equipment. New statistics released by Forest Research today show a record number of tree pests and diseases are being reported. The TreeAlert service received 3790 reports from the public over the past year (April 2021 –- March 2022) – a nearly 25% increase on the previous year. The most commonly reported pest and disease were Oak processionary moth and Ash dieback, respectively. Minister for Biosecurity, Lord Benyon said: “This is a significant moment and important expansion of the UK’s capacity to overcome tree pests and diseases – and protect our forests. “Six months on from COP26 and Royal Assent of our Environment Act, it is fitting to be bringing forward cutting-edge research that will be central to keeping our trees healthy and resilient as we deliver on our ambitious commitment to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament.” Chair of the Forestry Commission, Sir William Worsley said: “The threat to the health of our trees from pests and diseases is real and increasing. Trees are vital economic, environmental and social assets and so it is imperative that we do all we can to reduce these threats. “The opening of this new laboratory demonstrates the significant investment that the Government and the Forestry Commission are making to ensure the long-term resilience of our trees.” Forest Research Chief Executive, James Pendlebury said: “Pests and diseases pose an existential threat to our treescapes. The research conducted at the Holt Laboratory as part of the Centre for Forest Protection will be pivotal in our long-term ability to combat these threats and safeguard our treescapes for future generations. “This state-of-the-art facility builds on a long-term programme to protect our trees and forests from existing threats and ensures that we are at the forefront of defence against future risks.” Professor Richard Buggs, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Kew and Forest Research have been collaborating together on tree health issues for some time now, so it’s great to be coming together into a formal partnership for the Centre for Forest Protection. “Together, we can devise new ways to protect our trees and enhance their resilience. Ash dieback, acute oak decline, Dutch elm disease, here we come!” The Centre for Forest Protection, a new collaborative, virtual research network led jointly by Forest Research and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew also launches today with a mission to protect forests, woodlands and trees from environmental and socioeconomic threats now and in the future. This will involve innovative science, interdisciplinary research, expert advice, and training – supporting scientists across the UK and around the world. The broad remit of research and knowledge sharing will include investigations into understanding the genetic basis for resistance to high impact pests like ash dieback, which could inform future breeding programmes or reintroduction strategies for vulnerable species like ash and elm. Many of the forward-thinking research projects undertaken as part of the Centre for Forest Protection will be conducted at the Holt Laboratory. The successful launch of the Centre for Forest Protection delivers on a key commitment outlined in the England Trees Action Plan, which sets out the Government’s long-term plan for England’s trees, woodlands and forests. Today’s announcement also comes ahead of the publication in summer this year of the new GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy, which will set out a biosecurity vision for the UK for the next five years. Building upon work achieved under the existing strategy published in 2014, the Strategy aims to deliver a step change in our plant health protections, actions and behaviours. Public vigilance is a key part of the fight against tree disease. You can look out for any unusual symptoms – like leaf discolouration or ‘bleeding’ lesions – on trees and report any sightings via TreeAlert, the Forestry Commission’s online tree pest and disease reporting tool. The call to report diseases is being made as part of the third annual National Plant Health Week (9-15th May). ...

On 9 April 2022 forestry and tree organisations will be holding the UK’s first ever ‘mapathon’ in which hundreds of volunteers will undertake online tree canopy cover assessments of urban council wards across the UK…

The guide outlines the steps that can be taken to foster woodlands which will be resilient to current and future threats as a result of climate change

A state-of-the-art laboratory conducting innovative research into tree pests and diseases has been officially opened today (Friday 13 May) by Defra and the Forestry Commission, as part of National Plant Health Week. The £5.8 million Forest Research Holt Laboratory, located within the Alice Holt Forest in Surrey, will bring together leading scientists to undertake research on pests and pathogens which could be detrimental or seriously damaging to our forests. This will inform UK-wide efforts to combat ongoing pest and disease outbreaks, including from Oak processionary moth, Ips typographus and Phytophthora pluvialis, as well as emerging potential threats from abroad as a result of our warming climate, such as Emerald ash borer and Citrus longhorn beetle. The launch of the Holt Laboratory and the Centre for Forest Protection represents a significant expansion of the UK’s capacity and capability to combat tree pests and diseases and manage emerging threats, including climate change. By assessing the pests and pathogens in a contained laboratory, scientists from Forest Research – Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research – will be able to study them in a safe and controlled manner using cutting-edge technology and equipment. New statistics released by Forest Research today show a record number of tree pests and diseases are being reported. The TreeAlert service received 3790 reports from the public over the past year (April 2021 –- March 2022) – a nearly 25% increase on the previous year. The most commonly reported pest and disease were Oak processionary moth and Ash dieback, respectively. Minister for Biosecurity, Lord Benyon said: “This is a significant moment and important expansion of the UK’s capacity to overcome tree pests and diseases – and protect our forests. “Six months on from COP26 and Royal Assent of our Environment Act, it is fitting to be bringing forward cutting-edge research that will be central to keeping our trees healthy and resilient as we deliver on our ambitious commitment to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament.” Chair of the Forestry Commission, Sir William Worsley said: “The threat to the health of our trees from pests and diseases is real and increasing. Trees are vital economic, environmental and social assets and so it is imperative that we do all we can to reduce these threats. “The opening of this new laboratory demonstrates the significant investment that the Government and the Forestry Commission are making to ensure the long-term resilience of our trees.” Forest Research Chief Executive, James Pendlebury said: “Pests and diseases pose an existential threat to our treescapes. The research conducted at the Holt Laboratory as part of the Centre for Forest Protection will be pivotal in our long-term ability to combat these threats and safeguard our treescapes for future generations. “This state-of-the-art facility builds on a long-term programme to protect our trees and forests from existing threats and ensures that we are at the forefront of defence against future risks.” Professor Richard Buggs, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Kew and Forest Research have been collaborating together on tree health issues for some time now, so it’s great to be coming together into a formal partnership for the Centre for Forest Protection. “Together, we can devise new ways to protect our trees and enhance their resilience. Ash dieback, acute oak decline, Dutch elm disease, here we come!” The Centre for Forest Protection, a new collaborative, virtual research network led jointly by Forest Research and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew also launches today with a mission to protect forests, woodlands and trees from environmental and socioeconomic threats now and in the future. This will involve innovative science, interdisciplinary research, expert advice, and training – supporting scientists across the UK and around the world. The broad remit of research and knowledge sharing will include investigations into understanding the genetic basis for resistance to high impact pests like ash dieback, which could inform future breeding programmes or reintroduction strategies for vulnerable species like ash and elm. Many of the forward-thinking research projects undertaken as part of the Centre for Forest Protection will be conducted at the Holt Laboratory. The successful launch of the Centre for Forest Protection delivers on a key commitment outlined in the England Trees Action Plan, which sets out the Government’s long-term plan for England’s trees, woodlands and forests. Today’s announcement also comes ahead of the publication in summer this year of the new GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy, which will set out a biosecurity vision for the UK for the next five years. Building upon work achieved under the existing strategy published in 2014, the Strategy aims to deliver a step change in our plant health protections, actions and behaviours. Public vigilance is a key part of the fight against tree disease. You can look out for any unusual symptoms – like leaf discolouration or ‘bleeding’ lesions – on trees and report any sightings via TreeAlert, the Forestry Commission’s online tree pest and disease reporting tool. The call to report diseases is being made as part of the third annual National Plant Health Week (9-15th May).

On 9 April 2022 forestry and tree organisations will be holding the UK’s first ever ‘mapathon’ in which hundreds of volunteers will undertake online tree canopy cover assessments of urban council wards across the UK…

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