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This research programme supports the management of conflicts caused by vertebrate species and their impacts in woodlands. It provides information to support policymakers and practitioners in delivery of forest policy targets.

The research areas cover:

Many woodland types and stages are sensitive to the impacts that forest-based invasive or non-native species may have. For example:

  • Continuous cover forestry
  • Planted Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) restoration – and its valued components including timber, biodiversity, habitat structure and non-timber forest products
  • The establishment of woodland by replanting or natural regeneration and planting of new woods, including peri-urban woodlands and habitat networks
  • Short rotation coppice and wood fuel.

Non-native and invasive species may also affect woodland biodiversity (European, Country and Regional Habitat Action Plans (HAPs) and rare species protected under legislation and Biodiversity Action Plan’s (BAPs)), and the consequences of their impacts may be influenced by climate change.

Research priorities and focus

Priorities for research are identified through:

  • The European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species (2003)
  • The Resolution on Biodiversity (2003);
  • The Invasive Non-native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain (2008)
  • Forestry Commission Policies on sustainable forest management
  • National Strategies for non-native species.

The research focus is:

  • To determine where impacts may cause locally unacceptable damage over-riding any benefits
  • To determine when and how limited management resources should be applied, now and in the future to protect:
    • Forest trees and silvicultural systems
    • Forest ecosystems and biodiversity
    • Non-timber ecosystem services
  • Provision of methods to monitor the effectiveness of management
  • Provision of advice.

Supporting Forestry Commission policy

By providing best practice guidance on the cost effectiveness of, and methods to prevent mammal damage to enhance establishment, regeneration and woodland biodiversity, the programme supports the:

Funders and partners

Corporate and Forestry Support within the Forestry Commission fund the majority of this research and collaboration with other organisations occurs where practicable.


The programme is on going


Dr Robin Gill

Useful sites

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Robin Gill

Research Fellow