The changing climate is affecting our trees, forests and woodlands, how they grow and survive and the important ecosystem services they provide. For our forests and woodlands to thrive, adaptation measures must be considered carefully, and action taken. Ten measures to reduce climate risks and improve resilience are presented.
Milder and wetter winters, followed by increased spring rainfall, are likely to enhance the survival and infection potential of many tree pathogens. Hotter, drier summers leading to drought stress in trees will also increase their susceptibility to disease and expand the distribution range of some pathogens. The increased incidence and severity of diseases caused by Phytophthora species reduces the benefits that trees provide, including climate change mitigation.
The six main foliar pathogens already causing significant damage to conifers and broadleaved tree species in the UK are described along with the likely impact of climate change on their spread and severity.
There is increasing interest in designing policy interventions to sustain positive individual or societal behaviours and to encourage behaviour change which tackles environmental issues including climate change.
More biodiverse woodlands are better able to resist or adapt to threats, such as climate change. This enhanced resilience supports the continuity of woodlands and the ecosystem services they provide. Biodiversity is the variation at different levels of biological organisation - the genes within a species; the species within a community; and the diversity between communities and ecosystems.
Many parts of the UK are periodically affected by flooding and the frequency of floods is expected to increase due to climate change. Tree planting and forest management can alter flood flows, although the extent of this depends on many factors. Here we describe the latest understanding of how forestry can help.
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