This project is developing demonstrations of climate change adaptation measures in Alice Holt Forest. It aims to provide examples on the ground of where adaptive management and planning for future conditions can reduce the impact of the changing climate. We are doing this to understand how we can improve the resilience of forest stands to environmental change and create a platform for knowledge exchange on adaptive practice.
To co-develop, plan and implement aspects of adaptive practice into woodland management on the Public Forest Estate so as to:
- Develop demonstration activities and case studies to explain and share learning about adaptation actions in forestry;
- Inform future forest management decisions at Alice Holt Forest;
- Better understand the process and impact of implementing adaptive practice;
- Inspire adaptive management in the forestry sector.
Results so far
Through collaborative work between Forest Research and Forestry England South District we have been able to analyse adaptation measures and identify adaptation actions suitable for Alice Holt Forest and integrate them into the new Alice Holt Forest Design Plan.
We have been able to select three areas suitable for climate change adaptation demonstration activity to inform key audiences.
This has provided us with insights into the process of planning and delivering forest adaptation actions, in particular the selection of measures and the process of their integration into forest planning and the practicalities of adapting current woodland to future climates.
Baseline monitoring to assess key environmental parameters (including soils, ground vegetation, and tree growth) started in 2017, ahead of forest management operations to create the demonstration areas. Meteorological data are available from the nearby weather station at Alice Holt Lodge.
Operations to create the demonstration areas were undertaken in winter 2017 / 2018. In spring 2018, under-planting in the demonstration areas at Holt Pound and Willows Green went ahead and was followed by the 2018 heatwave which took place in June, July and August, when record breaking temperatures and widespread drought were experienced. The adaptation trail opened in 2019 and received over 60 visitors in the first year with multiple downloads ofthe trail resources.
What is next?
We are working to better understand the impacts of climate change in the demonstration areas, and to share with and involve others in our learning.
The project started in 2015 with phase one completed in 2019. Phase two started in 2021 and will run through to 2026 with ongoing monitoring of environmental variables.
Adaptation Trail Pages (Trail Guide / worksheet / audio guide)
Consultancy services related to Ecological Site Classification are available.
Ecological Site Classification, a decision support tool to assess species suitability to deliver ecosystem services to the end of the century.
Funders and partners
Forestry Commission policy
The project supports a number of requirements for adaptation of forest and woodland to the changing climate, set out in the UKFS.
In particular, we demonstrate how to:
- Implement requirements to maintain or establish a diverse composition within the forest management unit and encourage a representative range of the native species associated with the woodland type.
- Consider the risks and opportunities of climate change and vulnerability to pests and diseases for particular species.
- Consider a wider range of tree species than has been typical of past planting, and the use of planting material from more southerly origins.
- Choose trees or shrubs which are well adapted to the site and which will promote future adaptation.
- Encourage natural regeneration of native tree and shrub species to promote natural selection and climate change adaptation.