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Project Leader

Developing dynamically coupled models to simulate forest management and ecosystem goods and services provision under climate change adaptation trajectories. Working closely with Forest Districts and Forest Policy discussing simulation results. Developing new decision support system functionality.

Duncan joined Forest Research in 1982 to study the effects of ground preparation on forest soil water regimes. He helped develop Ecological Site Classification (ESC) producing the first ESC Decision Support System in 2001. More recently he used ESC to assess the abiotic and biotic impacts of climate change on forests in Britain, and to assess the effect on forest ecosystem service delivery.


IUFRO Group 4.3.3
Work Package 8 in EU 7th Framework project Trees4Future

Senior Forest Ecologist
Land use and ecosystem services (LUES)


Northern Research Station

Bush Estate



Related Research


B4EST – adaptive breeding for productive, sustainable and resilient forests under climate change

B4EST will offer new understanding about how adaptive forest breeding can be used to increase forest survival, health, resilience and productivity under climate change and natural disturbances, while maintaining genetic diversity and key ecological functions.

Status current


Land Use and Ecosystem Services

The research aims to increase our understanding of how woodlands and wooded landscapes provide a diverse range of ecosystem services (ES), and to help policymakers, forest managers and planners understand and assess how the specific placement and management of woodlands affects ES delivery at various scales.

Status current
Climate change impacts and adaptation in England's woodlands

Description of the research and knowledge development on the effects of climate change on forests and forestry in England

Forest management decision support systems (FORSYS)

COST Action FP0804 - defining a European-wide framework with core processes and information standards for decision-making in a sustainable multifunctional forest management environment

Expected climate change and options for EU silviculture (ECHOES)

This page summarises research and outputs from the ‘Expected climate change and options for EU silviculture’ (ECHOES) project, funded by the EU-funded COST programme.

Adapting Scotland's forests to a future climate

Description of the research and knowledge development on the effects of climate change on forests and forestry in Scotland

Habitats and Rare Priority Protected Species (HaRPPS)

Decision support tool and Information system for managing Habitats and Rare Priority and Protected Species in British forests

Scottish Borders forest habitat network

The development of a Forest Habitat Network for the Scottish Borders

Habitat networks

Principles and techniques for developing FHNs, includes models to assess and measure the ecological function FHNs as an aid to woodland planning and woodland management for biodiversity benefits

Management of upland native woodlands

Best methods for restoring & expanding major native woodland types in upland Britain

Related Publications


Forest habitat network for Edinburgh and the Lothians

Booklet describing the contribution of woodlands to promote sustainable development within the regional Structure Plan. By Duncan Ray and Darren Moseley.



A review of the effects of forest management intensity on ecosystem services for northern European temperate forests with a focus on the UK

Abstract Ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits that people receive from ecosystems. Understanding the impact of forest management on their supply can inform policy and practice for meeting societal demand. The objectives of this paper are to identify and review the effect of management intensity on priority ES supply and identify synergies and trade-offs among […]

New climate change information modifies frames and decisions of decision makers: an exploratory study in forest planning

This paper explores how information about climate change and its impacts on the provision of forest products and services, influences forest planners’ decisions about forest management. It explains that research has found that when this information was presented to forest planners, it resulted in forest management actions being planned to occur at more appropriate times […]

Adapting Scotland's forests to climate change using an action expiration chart

New decision-making tool helps ecosystem services to adapt to the potential impact of climate change on Scottish forests In a paper published in Environmental Research Letters Michal Petr and colleagues investigate the impacts of future climate change on forest ecosystem services in Scotland and describe a new approach to supporting adaptation decisions in forestry. To […]

Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England's woodlands

The changing climate presents a challenge for forest planning and forest management in England because the projected increases in temperature, changes in the seasonality of rainfall, and an increased frequency of extreme events add complexity to species selection and silvicultural practice. By actively adjusting forest management now, to anticipate future changes, we can hope to […]

Potential impacts of drought and disease on forestry in Scotland

This study identified 288 medium or high drought risk forest sites in eastern Scotland, 125 of which include Sitka spruce as a major component. Sitka spruce is intolerant of drought and is known to have previously experienced drought damage such as tree mortality and stem cracking in eastern Scotland. Cases of direct drought damage, together […]

Impacts of climate change on forestry in Wales

Climate change is now one of the greatest global challenges, and research is under way to establish the likely impacts on many aspects of the environment. Forestry Commission Wales has commissioned Forest Research to determine how forests and forestry in Wales will be affected by climate change. This Research Note provides an initial synopsis of […]

[Archive] Forest habitat networks Scotland

By Darren Moseley, Duncan Ray, Kevin Watts & Jonathan Humphrey. Contract report to Forestry Commission Scotland, Forestry Commission GB and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Impacts of climate change on forests in Scotland

Report compiled for Forestry Commission Scotland by Duncan Ray with sections also drafted by Dave Wainhouse, Joan Webber and Barry Gardiner.

Impacts of climate change on forestry in Scotland – a synopsis of spatial modelling research

This Research Note provides an initial synopsis of the likely impacts, with preliminary recommendations to support development of a climate change action plan for forestry in Scotland.

Climate change and British woodland: What does the future hold?

By Mark Broadmeadow et al. From Forest Research Annual Report and Accounts 2002-3. Related pages Climate change research

[Archive] An ecological site classification for forestry in Great Britain

Ecological Site Classification (ESC) will help forest managers to select tree species, and to make related decisions based on an appreciation of the ecological potential of sites. The classification focuses on the key factors of site that influence tree growth, and that are important to the rest of the ecosystem. This site-orientated approach to tree […]

Other Research

Studying abiotic factors that may predispose oak trees and woodlands to stress in the THAPBI funded project PuRpOsE (Protecting Oak Ecosystems) to understand threats to oak woodlands.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Reyer, C.P.O., Bathgate, S., Blennow, K., et al. – including Ray, D., (2017) Are forest disturbances amplifying or cancelling out climate change-induced productivity changes in European forests? Environmental Research Letters 12:34027. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa5ef1

Beauchamp, K., Bathgate, S., Ray, D., and Nicol, B., (2016) Forest ecosystem service delivery under future climate scenarios and adaptation management options: a case study in central Scotland, Scottish Forestry, December 2016.

Ray, D., Sing, L. and Nicol, B., (2016) Agriculture & Forestry Report Card Paper 9: Forest Ecosystem Services and Climate Change

Ray, D. et al., (2016) Improved prediction of the climate driven outbreaks of Dendrolimus pini in Pinus sylvestris forests. Forestry DOI: 10.1093/forestry/cpw007

Sing, L., Ray, D., Watts, K., (2016) Ecosystem Services and Forest Management, Research Note FCRN020, Forestry Commission Research Division, Roslin, Midlothian.

Mitchell, R.J., Beaton, J.K., Bellamy, P.E., Broome, A., Chetcuti, J., Eaton, S., Ray D., et al. (2014) Ash dieback in the UK: A review of the ecological and conservation implications and potential management options. . Biological Conservation, 175, 95-109.

Ray, D., Bathgate, S., Moseley, D., Taylor, P., Nicoll, B., Pizzirani, S. et al. (2014) Comparing the provision of ecosystem services in plantation forests under alternative climate change adaptation management options in Wales. Regional Environmental Change, DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0644-6.

Petr, M., Boerboom, L.G.J., van-der-Veen, A. and Ray, D. (2014) A spatial and temporal drought risk assessment of three major tree species in Britain using probabilistic climate change projections. Climatic Change, 124 (4), 791-803.

Petr, M., Boerboom, L.G.J., Ray, D. and van-der-Veen, A. (2014) An Uncertainty Assessment Framework for Forest Planning Adaptation to Climate Change. Forest Policy and Economics, 41 (c), 1-11.

Xenakis, G., Ray, D. and Mencuccini, M., (2011) Effects of climate and site characteristics on Scots pine growth. European Journal of Forest Research, DOI 10.1007/s10342-011-0516-2: 13pp.

Tene, A. Tobin, B., Dyckmans, J., Ray, D., Black, K., Niewenhuis, M. (2011) Assessment of tree response to drought: validation of a methodology to identify and test proxies for monitoring past environmental changes in trees. Tree Physiology, 31(3): 309-322.

Ray, D., Xenakis, G., Tene, A. and Black, K., 2010. Developing a site classification system to assess the impact of climate change on species selection in Ireland. Irish Forestry, 66(1&2): 101-122.

Ray, D., Xenakis, G., Tene, A. and Black, K., 2010. Developing a site classification system to assess the impact of climate change on species selection in Ireland. Irish Forestry, 66(1&2): 101-122.

Ray, D., Morison, J. and Broadmeadow, M., 2010. Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands. Forestry Commission Research Note (FCRN201). Forestry Commission Edinburgh.