Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands
Lead Author: Duncan Ray
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Lead Author: Duncan Ray
The changing climate presents a challenge for forest planning and forest management in England because the projected increases in temperature, changes in the seasonality of rainfall, and an increased frequency of extreme events add complexity to species selection and silvicultural practice. By actively adjusting forest management now, to anticipate future changes, we can hope to increase resilience by reducing exposure to risks in forestry and in the goods and services that woodlands provide for society. Tree growth will increase in some areas and decline in others, and the effects will vary with species. Some relatively less known species will become more suitable – including some from other continents and current climates more similar to those projected for England. New approaches to woodland management will be required to address the threats of drought and increased risk of damage from pests, diseases, wind and fire. There are many uncertainties associated with climate change, and the likely impact on trees, silviculture and forest operations. This uncertainty should not prevent adaptation but, instead, should direct woodland managers to implement measures that increase resilience whatever climate change brings, or that are likely to reap the greatest rewards in the future. A key concept in managing risk is diversification: from broadening the choice of genetic material and mixing tree species in different ways, to varying management systems and the timing of operations.
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