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Decision support tools

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A range of online tools are available to support forest owners, managers, and decision makers to understand the impacts and risks from the changing climate to the forest and woodlands they manage, and how they might adapt their woodlands and practices to increase resilience.

Decision support tools

Tool

Organisation

Information & Training

Description

Cost

Forest Research, Forestry Commission, B4EST

Compare a site’s future climate to current locations in Europe

Free

UK Climate Resilience Programme, UKCEH, University of Reading, Institute for Environmental Analytics

Visualise climate data and indicators of risk

Free

Forest Research 

Assess the current and future suitability of tree species for a forest site

Free

Forest Research

Estimate the probability of wind damage to conifer stands

Free/Paid

Sylva Foundation

Tool for woodland mapping and management planning

Free/Paid

The ClimateMatch tool provides a visualisation of regions with a similar climate to the climate projection for any location in Europe, and so gives an indication of the climate that trees are likely to experience in the future. The tool can also show how a climatic niche will shift under future climate conditions. Information about the tool is available from Forest Research and B4EST.

Climate Risk Indicators is a free online tool to visualise UK climate change data, including average, minimum and maximum temperatures, rainfall, and temperature extremes. It provides indicators of risk including for wildfire, agriculture, river levels, and transport. Information and a How to Guide are included within the Tool and through the Climate Resilience Programme.

The Ecological Site Classification (ESC) decision support tool assesses the current and future ecological suitability of tree species for a forest site, with users providing site and soil information. ESC considers six climatic and soil variables and provides information for over 50 tree species. Information about ESC is available from Forest Research, as are a short series of tutorial videos.

forestGALES is an online or computer-based tool which allows forest managers to estimate the probability of wind damage to any conifer stand in Britain, according to site and stand properties. It supports decision making by calculating the critical wind speed that would be expected to damage a stand, the current risk of overturning and stem breakage, change in risk over the life of the crop, and the effect on risk of thinning and creation of brown edges. Further details are available. A free web-based version is available for calculating the risk to a single stand, and full-function paid-for version can be downloaded.

myForest is a free online tool from Sylva Foundation, helping woodland owners, managers, and agents to create maps, complete inventories, produce UKFS-compliant woodland management plans, and even submit applications for government incentives or felling licences. Also included is the Woodland Assessor, a self-assessment tool aimed at helping woodland managers improve practice to comply with the UKFS. A Premium (paid) version with enhanced functionality includes Ordnance Survey mapping and more.

Further resources

A step-by-step approach to tackling the impacts of climate change and increasing resilience through adaptation.
Read how forest and woodland managers are putting theory into practice and testing new measures to help minimise risk.
Policies and priorities for woodland creation and management are specific to each country in the UK, together with relevant support mechanisms.

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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