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With climate change now one of the greatest global challenges, research is underway to establish the likely impacts on all aspects of the environment. Information in these pages provides an initial description of the likely impacts on aspects of Scotland’s forest industry, with preliminary recommendations on how the industry might respond and adapt to the challenge.
Information has been compiled from knowledge within the forest scientific community.
In addition, spatial modelling, using the decision-support tool Ecological Site Classification (ESC), has been applied to future climate emissions scenario projections to examine likely changes in tree species suitability.
Maps are indicative and use coarse-resolution soil information with future climate variables derived from simulations provided by the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (2002) (UKCIP02) at 5 km resolution. It is very important that the maps are used only to infer trends, and that forest planning for the future climate involves careful site- and stand-based consideration.
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This research is funded by the Forestry Commission Climate Change programme and Forestry Commission Scotland.
Forestry Commission policy on climate change stems from the UK Government’s response to the Kyoto Protocol with the publication of the strategic document on climate change: ‘Climate Change – the UK programme’ published in November 2000. The Forestry Commission and Northern Ireland Forest Service helped to produce this strategy and are responsible for ensuring that our forestry policies and practices allow UK woodlands to withstand the rigours of climate change.
The Scottish Forestry Strategy identifies climate change as the number one theme cross-cutting all other aspects of forestry. The strategy calls for a robust adaptation policy to prepare the industry to adjust and maintain or improve sustainable forest management.
The spatial implementation of Ecological Site Classification (ESC) has been amended to include future climate layers of accumulated temperature (AT), moisture deficit (MD), and wind exposure (DAMS) in a Geographical Information (GI) environment.
In addition, the ESC model has been developed to couple MD and soil moisture regime (SMR) for the summer months. This allows the default values of summer SMR that have been assigned to major soil groups in the baseline climate, to be adjusted in the future climate.
The method for adjustment is based upon the relationship between available water capacity (AWC) and MD, published as Table 6 in Forestry Commission Bulletin 124 – An Ecological Site Classification for Forestry in Great Britain.
It is important that the suitability changes are not interpreted out of context. These are national analyses and should not be used for site or forest-scale planning. They give an indication of the regional trends in suitability. Decisions made at a site or forest block level must take account of the soil type and site conditions.
The model uses coarse resolution data: climate variable resolution is 5 km, and the soil quality data has been interpreted from the digital Soil Survey of Scotland Major Soil Sub-groups, published at a scale of 1:250,000 (Macaulay Institute).
Suitability maps have been generated on average climate data. No account has been taken of the impact of extreme events on tree species, other than presenting the high emissions future scenarios as a worst case example. In 2008, we will have access to UKCIP08 climate simulations which are expected to improve our knowledge of the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, such as drought and winter rainfall.
Maps are displayed in a new window. File sizes average 40K and dimensions are 440 by 620 pixels.
|Species||2050 low emissions||2050 high emissions||2080 low emissions||2080 high emissions|
|Common alder||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Ash||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Beech||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Corsican pine||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Downy birch||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Douglas fir||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|European larch||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Japanese larch||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Lodgepole pine||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Norway spruce||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Pedunculate oak||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Silver birch||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Sweet chestnut||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Sessile oak||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Scots pine||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Sitka spruce||View map||View map||View map||View map|
|Sycamore||View map||View map||View map||View map|
More frequent green-spruce aphid attacks may reduce growth in eastern and southern Scotland.
(Photo: Clive Carter)
Forest nurseries in eastern Scotland will have to adapt to the drier summers, for example by using more irrigation.