Even if there are strenuous global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the UK’s climate will continue to change. These changes and the risks they present could be significant, although there is uncertainty. Woodland owners and managers should assess the risks that climate change could pose, and plan adaptation accordingly.
The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) advocates the development of a risk-based approach to adaptation and minimising the potential for negative impacts on tree growth and forest productivity using adaptation measures.
The 5-step Adaptation Framework guides managers through risk identification, management, and monitoring.
Risks and opportunities
Atmospheric CO2 concentration will continue to increase, depending on global measures to reduce emissions
All UK regions are expected to warm – more in summer than in winter. The growing season will become longer.
There may be lower summer rainfall, particularly in southern and central England. Summer rainstorms may be heavier when they do occur.
Higher peak sea levels during storms; higher risk of sea water intrusion.
Reduced frost and snow days
The number and severity of air frosts is expected to decline, however, their timing in relation to plant and animal cycles may change.
Increased storm frequency and wind speeds
Some increase in winter storms and average wind speed is expected.
See the UKFS Practice Guide
Download the UKFS Adaptation Practice Guide
Printed copies are available to purchase from Forest Research.
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‘Adapting forest and woodland management to the changing climate’ for a more detailed overview including influencing site factors.