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Resilient forests are important if our trees are to cope better with changing environmental conditions and threats from pests and diseases.

A major emphasis of the 2014 Science and Innovation Strategy for Forestry in Great Britain was on developing practical solutions to help land managers to create more resilient forests.

Responding to this, a programme of research investigating how we can deliver resilient forests, is being carried out by Forest Research in collaboration with a wide range of partner organisations.

Publications about delivering resilient forests

This page lists the main publications produced through the ‘Delivering Resilient Forests’ research programme.

Planning and management to deliver forest ecosystem resilience

Shah, N.W. and Nisbet, T.R. (2019) The effects of forest clearance for peatland restoration on water quality. Science of The Total Environment Volume 693, 133617

Atkinson, G.  (2018).  Demonstrating Climate Change in Alice Holt Forest.  Forestry and Timber News, June 2018, p.30-31.

Bellamy, C., Barsoum, N., Cottrell, J. & Watts, K. (2018). Encouraging biodiversity at multiple scales in support of resilient woodlandsForestry Commission Research Note 33, Edinburgh.

Mitchell, R.J., Hewison, R.L., Hester, A.J., Broome, A., Kirby, K.J. (2016). Potential impacts of the loss of Fraxinus excelsior (Oleaceae) due to ash dieback on woodland vegetation in Great Britain. New Journal of Botany, 6 (1), pp.2–15.

Mitchell, R.J., Pakeman, R.J. Broome, A., Beaton, J. K., Bellamy, E., Brooker, R. W.,  Ellis, C.J., Hester, A. J. Nick, G., Iason, G.R., Littlewood, N.A., Pozsgai, G., David, R., Stockan, J.A., Taylor, A.F.S., & Woodward, S. (2016). How to Replicate the Functions and Biodiversity of a Threatened Tree Species ? The Case of Fraxinus excelsior in Britain. Ecosystems 19: 573.

Broome, A., Ray, D., Mitchell, R. and Harmer, R. (2018). Responding to ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) in the UK: woodland composition and replacement tree species. Forestry 92, 108-119, 119.

Broome, A., Rattey, A. & Bellamy, C. (2018). Niches for Species, a multi-species model to guide woodland management. Forestry Commission Research Note 35, Edinburgh.

Broome, A. and Holl, K. (2017). Can the site conditions required for successful natural regeneration of juniper (Juniperus communis L.) be determined from a single species survey? Plant Ecology & Diversity, 10(2–3), pp.175–184.

Broome, A., Fuller, R., J., P.E. Bellamy, M.P. Eichhorn, R.M.A. Gill, R. Harmer, G. Kerr, G.M. Siriwardena (2017). The implications of lowland broadleaved woodland management for the conservation of target bird speciesForestry Commission Research Note 28, Edinburgh.

Broome, A. & Mitchell, R., J. (2017). Ecological impacts of ash dieback and mitigation methodsForestry Commission Research Note 29, Edinburgh.

Broome, A. (2016). Understanding the provision of conifer seed for woodland speciesForestry Commission Research Note 23, Edinburgh.

Calladine, J., Broome, A. & Fuller, R., J. (2016). The implications of upland conifer management for breeding birdsForestry Commission Research Note 25, Edinburgh.

Ray, D., Petr, M., Mullet, M., Bathgate, S., Marchi, M. & Beauchamp, K. (2017). A simulation-based approach to assess forest policy options under biotic and abiotic climate change impacts: A case study on Scotland’s National Forest Estate. Forest Policy and Economics, 2017.

Ražauskaitė, R., Smith, J., Cornulier, T., Smith, P., Benham, S., Randle, T., Vanguelova, E. (in press). Soil carbon sequestration under English oak and permanent grassland. Science of the Total Environment.

Vanguelova E.I., Crow, P., Benham, S., Pitman, R., Forster, J., Eaton, E.L., Morison, J.I.L. (In press). Impact of Sitka spruce afforestation on the carbon stocks of peaty gley soils – a chronosequence study in the north of England. Forestry.

Vanguelova, E.I., Pitman, R., Benham, S., Perks, M. and Morison, J.I. (2017a). Impact of tree stump harvesting on soil carbon and nutrients and second rotation tree growth in mid-Wales, UK. Open Journal of Forestry. 7, 58-78.

Silviculture and resilient forests

Ambrose-Oji, B., Atkinson, G., & Petr, M. (2019). Woodland Managers’ Understanding of Resilience and their Future Information NeedsForestry Commission Research Note 36, Edinburgh.

Ambrose- Oji, B., Atkinson, G., Pecurul, M. and Petr, M. 2018 Differentiating between land managers for understanding of “resilience”, and factors influencing decision-making. Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey, p. 38.

Ambrose-Oji, B. Dunn, M. and Atkinson, M. (2018) Pine martens in the forest of Dean: Stakeholder and public attitudes. Forest Research Report.

Kerr, G. & Haufe, J. (2016). Successful Underplanting.  Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Kerr, G., Snellgrove, M. Hale, S. & Stokes, V. (2017). The Bradford–Hutt system for transforming young even-aged stands to continuous cover management. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 90, Issue 4, 1 October 2017, Pages 581–593.

Kerr, G. & Snellgrove, M. (2017).  The Bradford-Hutt System – Success or Failure.  Forestry and Timber News, June 2017, p.30-33.

McCartan, S. A. (2018). More Haste Less SpeedForestry and Timber News, April 2018, pp. 57.

McCartan, S.A. & Jinks, R.L. (2015). Upgrading Seed Lots of European Silver Fir (Abies alba Mill.) Using Imbibition-Drying-Separation (IDS). Tree Planters’ Notes 58(2): 21-27.

McCartan, S.A., Peace. A.J., Gosling, P.G., & Forster, J. (2017). Secondary dormancy imposition in pre-chilled, dried seeds of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) during storage. Seed Science and Technology 45: 296-305.

Stokes, V., Lee, S., Forster, J. & Fletcher, A. (2018). A comparison of Sitka spruce x white spruce hybrid families as an alternative to pure Sitka spruce plantations in upland Britain. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 91, Issue 5, 1 December 2018, Pages 650–661.

Stokes, V., Martin, S. 2016. Taking the long-view: using past research experiments to guide future forestry. Forestry and Timber News, February 2016 Issue, p12-13.

Willoughby, I.H., Jinks R.L. and Forster, J. (2019). Direct seeding of birch, rowan and alder can be a viable technique for the restoration of upland native woodland in the UK. Forestry 92 (3), 324-338.

Species and resilient forests

Savill, P., Wilson, S, Mason, B. and Jinks, R. (2016). Silver firs (Abies spp.) of Europe and the Near East. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 110 (1), 18-30.

Savill, P., Wilson, S., Mason, B., Jinks, R., Stokes, V., & Christian, T. (2017). Alternative spruces to Sitka and Norway. Part 1 – Serbian spruce (Picea omorika). Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 111(1), 32–39.

Wilson, S. M., Mason, B., Jinks, R., Gil-Moreno, D., & Savill, P. (2016). The redwoods and red cedar: coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) – species, silviculture and utilisation potential. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 110(4), 244–256.

Wilson, S. M., Mason, B, Savill, P. and Jinks, R. (2017). Noble Hardwood Alternatives to Ash. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 111(3); 166-182.

Mason, B., Jinks, R., Savill, P. and Wilson, S, McG.  (2018). Southern Beeches (Nothofagus species). Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 112(1); 30-43.

Integrated weed, pest and disease management

Dunn, M., Marzano, M., Forster, J. & Gill, R., M., A. (2018). Public attitudes towards ‘pest’ management: perceptions on squirrel management strategies in the UK’. Biological Conservation, 222 (2018), pp 52-63.

Stringer AP, MacPherson J, Carter S, Gill R, Ambrose-Oji B, Wilson R, Kelsall P, Feirn WG, Galbraith LC, Hilário CM, Parry G & Taylor A. (2018).  The feasibility of reintroducing pine martens (Martes martes) to the Forest of Dean and lower Wye Valley.  Gloucester Wildlife Trust, May 2018. 107 pages.

Tubby, K.V., Willoughby, I.H. and Forster, J. (2017). The efficacy of chemical thinning treatments on Pinus sylvestris and Larix kaempferi and subsequent incidence and potential impact of Heterobasidion annosum infection in standing trees. Forestry 2017; 90, 728–736.

Willoughby, I., Moore, R. and Nisbet, T. (2017a). Interim Guidance on the integrated management of Hylobius abietis in UK forestry.  Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey.

Willoughby, I., Stokes, V. and Connolly, T. (2017b). Using Ecoplugs containing glyphosate can be an effective method of killing standing trees. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 90, Issue 5, 1 December 2017, Pages 719–727.

Willoughby, I.H., Forster, J. and Stokes, V.J. (2018). Gaultheria shallon can be effectively controlled by the herbicides picloram, triclopyr or glyphosate if they are applied at the correct time of year. New Forests 49:757-774.

Willoughby, I.H. and Peace, S. (2018). Reversing the spread: how can we prevent gaultheria becoming the next rhododendron? Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 113 (3), 199-202.

Willoughby, I.H., Stokes, V.J. and Edwards, C. (2017). Ecoplugs containing glyphosate can be effective in preventing regrowth from Rhododendron ponticum stumps. Scottish Forestry 71 (3), 33-39.

Willoughby, I.H., Harmer, R. and Forster, J. (2018). Ten conifer species with the potential for wider use in British forestry show some tolerance to six commonly used pesticides. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 112 (2), 84-91.

Willoughby, I.H., Tubby, K.V., Saunders, C. and Peace, S. (2019). Exploring the use of Ecoplugs for woody weed control. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 113 (2), 96 – 101.

Resilient urban forests

Ashwood, F.E., Butt, K.R., Doick, K.J., Vanguelova. E.I. (2018). Effects of composted green waste on soil quality and tree growth on a reclaimed landfill site. European Journal of Soil Biology. 87, 46-52.

Ashwood, F., Watts, K., Park, K., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Benham, S., Vanguelova, E. (In press) Long-term impacts of woodland restoration on soils in agricultural landscapes. Restoration Ecology.

Defra. (2018). Urban Tree Manual: The Right Tree in the Right Place for a Resilient Future. Barbrook, J., MacKenzie, R., Doick, K.J., Griffiths, A., Salisbury, A., Smith, J.C., (Eds). Defra, London. 33pp.

Hand, K.L., Doick, K.J., Moss, J.L. (2019a). Modelling the Delivery of Regulating Ecosystem Services for Small and Medium Stature Trees in the Urban Environment with i-Tree Eco. Forestry Commission Research Report – In Press. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Hand, K.L., Doick, K.J., Moss, J.L. (2019b). Modelling the Delivery of Regulating Ecosystem Services for Large Stature Trees in the Urban Environment with i-Tree Eco. Forestry Commission Research Report – In Press. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Li, X., Bardos, P., Cundy, A., Harder, M., Doick, K.J., Norrman, J., Williams, S., Chen, W. (2019). Using a Conceptual Site Model for Assessing the Sustainability of Brownfield Regeneration for a Soft Reuse: A Case Study of Port Sunlight River Park (U.K.). Science of the Total Environment. 652, 810-821.

Managing pest and disease threats

Perez-Sierra, A., Webber, J., Birchal, E. and Carson-Taylor L. (2017). Things you need to know about Xylella fastidiosa. Forestry & Timber News, December 2017: 42-43.

Jung, T., Scanu, B., Bakonyi, J., Seress, D., Kovács, G.M., Durán, A., Sanfuentes von Stowasser, E., Schena, L, Mosca, S., Thu, P.Q., Nguyen, C.M., Fajardo, S., González, M., Pérez-Sierra, A., Rees, H., Cravador, A., Maia, C. and Horta-Jung, M. (2017). Nothophytophthora gen. nov., a new sister genus of Phytophthora from natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Persoonia 39: 143 –174.

González M., Pérez-Sierra A., Serrano M.S. and Sánchez M.E. (2017). Two Phytophthora species causing decline of wild olive (Olea europaea subsp. europaea var. sylvestris). Published in Plant Pathology 66, 941–948.

Drakulic, J., Gorton, C., Pérez-Sierra, A., Clover, G. and Beal, L. (2017). Associations between Armillaria species and host plants in UK gardens. Plant Disease 101: 1903-1909.

Lee, S. (2018). Researching the tolerance of ash dieback to individual trees.  Forestry and Timber News, August 2018, p. 58-61.

Lewis, A., Gorton, C., Rees, H., Webber, J. and Pérez-Sierra, A. (2017). First report of Gnomoniopsis smithogilvyi causing lesions and cankers of sweet chestnut in the United Kingdom. New Disease Reports 35, 20.

Blake, M., Barclay, M. V. L., Mendel, H. and Morris, M. G. (2018) Bradybatus kellneri Bach, 1854 (Curculionidae) intercepted in Acer fruits – one to watch out for in Britain. The Coleopterist 27 91-94.

McMinn J, Perez-Sierra A. (2018). Neonectria neomacrospora on Abies spp. in Wales. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 112 (2): 111-116.

Jung T, Pérez–Sierra A, Durán A, Horta Jung M, Balci Y, Scanu B. (2018). Canker and decline diseases caused by soil- and airborne Phytophthora species in natural and semi–natural ecosystems. Persoonia 40 182-220.

Research objectives

To produce evidence that guides decision-making around four central challenges:

  1. How can we maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity whilst achieving resilience?
  2. What are the properties of trees we are likely to grow for increased resilience?
  3. How do we design, cultivate and manage adaptive, resilient and productive woodlands?
  4. What is the impact of pests and diseases on the creation and retention of forests?

Research and advice is focussed on the following topics:

  1. Planning and management to deliver forest ecosystem resilience
  2. Silviculture and resilient forests
  3. Species and resilient forests
  4. Integrated weed, pest and disease management
  5. Resilient urban forests
  6. Managing pest and disease threats

Our Involvement

Forest Research led the management and delivery of this programme of research.

Funding & partners
  • Forestry Commission (GB) provided the core funding for this programme. Funding for additional related research was provided by a number of other organisations.