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PRAFOR is a collaborative project involving multiple European institutions and funded by a 2 year UKRI grant. The project aims to develop and demonstrate the practical value of probabilistic environmental risk analysis for landscape decisions. Specifically, it will combine novel risk assessment methods with process-based modelling of forest growth and the latest climate projections to predict drought risk. The proposed analysis and decision support tool will provide spatial and temporal patterns of drought-driven losses to ecosystem services in two major conifer species for the UK now and in future climates, with extension to different European regions for Scots pine.

Research objectives

  • Update the current risk analysis framework to include exposure to hazard, allowing distinction between individual/local hazards and population/regional hazards.
  • Derive equations to quantify uncertainties in risk estimates and associated components, allowing for clear and pragmatic guidance in subsequent decision support tools.
  • Test our updated equations and algorithms on both observed and simulated data. Observational data will be from forests in the U.K., Spain and Finland. Simulated data will be generated by process-based modelling of forest response to climate change.
  • Develop theory allowing any joint probability distribution for hazard, exposure and vulnerability components.
  • Use the outputs of the process-based forest models and associated parameter estimations to explore the underlying causes of vulnerability.
  • Embed the derived equations within a Bayesian decision theory framework to identify optimal drought management measures and show the wider implications of risk decomposition and quantification of uncertainty.
  • Develop the analysis into an interactive web application as a tool for exploration of risk and its components to support decision making.

Our Involvement

FR is subcontracted to provide expertise in tree ecophysiology, data, modelling and software development, and leads/co-leads on key components of the project:

  • FR is co-leading on the development and calibration of process-based models of tree growth and function under drought conditions.
  • FR will be providing data and expertise from previous experiments, analyses and trials on forest growth response to drought for Scots pine and Sitka spruce, notably from long running flux measurements at Harwood forest and tree ring cores and discs.
  • FR will develop the decision support application which is crucial to the practical output of the project.


More information about the project can be found here.

Funding & partners
  • UK Research and Innovation grant (ref: NE/T009861/1). Project partners: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland
Forestry Staff Mike Perks.803521b6.fill 600x600 1
Mike Perks

Principal Scientist