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Creating mixed species stands

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Home Adaptation Measures Creating mixed species stands

Mixed species include intimate mixtures, row or line mixtures, group mixtures and mosaic mixtures.

In recent decades the use of mixtures has been limited but they are being recommended as an important adaptation measure, offering insurance against unknown future risks, so that if one species fails, other species provide a continuing stand structure.

Mixed species stand considerations

Mixing species within stands is not a new practice, there is lots of experience to draw upon, but the right species will need to be considered in light of climate change. In lowland England mixtures are fairly common, occupying nearly a third of the public forest estate. The most common mixture is currently conifer-broadleaf followed by conifer mixtures, with broadleaf mixtures less common. In upland Britain there is a substantial area of mixed conifer; broadleaf forest with Sitka spruce and Scots pine are the most common conifers and birch the most common broadleaf in these mixtures.

Guidance notes

  • Choice of mixture type should be informed by the desired type of resilience e.g. reduced susceptibility to wildfire. The intended duration of benefits from mixed species and opportunities for natural regeneration.
  • The compatibility of any proposed tree species in a mixture must be considered e.g. growth rates, shade tolerance, rooting depth etc.
  • Experience of growing species in the UK can inform which are compatible, but this may change with our changing climate.

For further advice see the UKFS Practice Guide ‘Adapting forest and woodland management to the changing climate’

Download the UKFS Adaptation Practice Guide

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Reducing climate change risks

The following risks may be reduced if the adaptation measure is applied appropriately:

Measure likely to reduce risk if applied appropriately
Measure may reduce risk but about which less is known
Measure unlikely to reduce, and may exacerbate, risk
Lack of information or unknown

Tools to assist decision making

To help select the right species for the right site, the Forest Research tree species database contain information on a wide range of trees including provenance, site requirements and risks of pests and pathogens.

UKFS Adaptation Practice Guide download

The UKFS Practice Guide ‘Adapting forest and woodland management to the changing climate’ guides practitioners through the process from assessing climate change risks to implementing adaptation measures.

Printed copies are available to purchase from Forest Research.

Download the UKFS Adaptation Practice Guide

Printed copies are available to purchase from Forest Research.

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GDPR Agreement*
By submitting your details you agree to our Privacy Policy – Forest Research. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA.
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