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Assessing the resilience of UK forests to extreme climatic events

Home Research Forestry and climate change mitigation Assessing the resilience of UK forests to extreme climatic events

The project aims to:

  • Quantify the historic impact and legacy of extreme historical climatic events, particularly drought, by using tree-ring chronologies and historic climate and soil data
  • Assess how different silvicultural management techniques can be used to mitigate against the negative impacts of extreme climatic events on tree growth


Research objectives

Building adaptive capacity into furture forest design and management can help to ensure that UK forests are resilient to the challenges of our predicted future climate. This project will quantify the impact of extreme historical climatic events on pine and spruce in UK forests, and use this information to identify forest management practices which might mitigate the negative impacts from such events in the future. 

The research aims to answer the following questions:

  • How widespread are historical drought impacts on UK forest trees and are historical impacts more severe in sites currently deemed to be high risk?
  • How long-lasting is the legacy of severe/prolonged water deficits on forest growth?
  • How do different forest management treatments (e.g. planting density) impact susceptibility of forest stands to drought?
  • What is the predicted impact of potential future water deficits?
  • How do UK forest tree ring chronologies compare with Southern European studies on drought impacts?

This project started in September 2018 and is part of a 4 year PhD.