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Summary of Programme

Environmental change describes the far-reaching shifts in the earth’s life systems caused by human-induced effects on climate, atmospheric composition and land use.  Forests offer opportunities for mitigation of the effects of environmental change (e.g. carbon sequestration, slope stabilisation), and forests can be managed over the long-term to ensure their adaptation to the changes.  We term forestry designed to maximise mitigation and adaptation as ‘Climate Smart Forestry’.

This research seeks to understand how to deliver Climate Smart Forestry which is consistent with Sustainable Development Goals and principles of sustainable forest management, and can respond to the significant challenges of environmental change and biodiversity loss, whilst supporting the need for green recovery through delivery of a robust and sustainable forest bioeconomy.

The proposed research takes a multi-disciplinary approach and will deliver underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding, as well as practical tools and guidance for forest managers, to make the necessary changes to sustainable forest management in Britain.

Work Areas

WA1: Environmental Change impacts & susceptibility assessments

Bringing together work on forest susceptibility to environmental change impacts, the drivers of responses observed, and risk associated with environmental change and climate extremes.

WA2: Climate Smart Forestry

Generating evidence on Greenhouse Gas balances (GHG), soil carbon function and the environmental change mitigation benefits of different silvicultural systems, forest and peatland management.  It will also provide socio-economic evidence supporting the understanding of mitigation/adaptation delivery and barriers to uptake in the forestry sector.

WA3: SFM and building resilience to Environmental Change

Delivering an improved understanding of forest management which accounts for resilience to environmental change and which adheres to sustainable development principles (maintaining production, biodiversity, regenerative capacity, and ability to fulfil ecological, social and economic functions without damage to other ecosystems).

Key Topics

Ecological Site ClassificationForestGales; Climate Smart forestry; Climate projections; Extreme events; Greenhouse Gas balances; Sustainable Forest Management; Long-term experiments; Integrated forest monitoringEmerging species; Forest vegetation management; Forest soils and peatland management; Soil carbon; Forest hydrology.

Contributing Science Groups

  • Climate Change Research Group
  • Physical Environment Research Group
  • Species, Genes & Habitat Research Group
  • Land Use and Ecosystem Services
  • Forest Management Research Group
  • Social & Economic Research Group

Programme Managers

Alice Broome  and Mike Perks 

Work Area Co-Leads – Gail Atkinson, Kate Beauchamp, Tom Nisbet, Vadim Saraev, Sirwan Yamulki.