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Flooding is a major environmental hazard facing the UK and one that is expected to increase with climate change. Societal impacts and economic damages are likely to escalate, with major floods already costing multiple £billion. These concerns are driving a more sustainable approach to flood risk management involving greater working with natural processes to slow down and store floodwater within upstream catchments. Woodland creation can make an important contribution to reducing downstream flood risk, while forest operations such as cultivation, drainage, road construction and harvesting can have the opposite effect if not appropriately managed. This Practice Guide provides advice to landowners, forest and woodland managers, planners, practitioners and flooding authorities, on how forests, forest management and woodland creation can affect flood flows and flood water storage. Applying this guidance will help ensure that forests and woodlands make a positive contribution to natural flood management as part of a more sustainable and integrated approach to protecting communities from the damaging effects of future flooding.
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