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Resilience is an important concept and shared goal among policymakers and practitioners. Interest in how to achieve resilience has increased in recent years as managers of trees, woodlands and forests have grappled with growing uncertainties related to climate change, pests and diseases, as well as other threats. However, it can be a challenge to decide what action to take as a common understanding of what resilience means and how to go about resilience planning is lacking. 

The Resilience Implementation Framework has been designed to provide a structured way to think and plan at different levels, whether strategic, tactical or operational, and to help identify suitable management actions. It provides a way of achieving a common understanding and identifying potential actions for a specific set of circumstances. It is specifically targeted at implementing resilience for trees, woodlands and forests but the steps can also be applied to organisations or larger landscape settings.

In trials it was found that the process of working through the Framework as a group was a successful way to bring in fresh ideas and create shared goals. Therefore, specific advice is provided throughout for those seeking to facilitate such discussions.

The Resilience Implementation Framework is available through either webpage steps or as a downloadable pdf. Under further resources you will also find a guiding questions template and a glossary. The Resilience Implementation Framework was developed with support from Defra’s Future Proofing Plant Health programme.

The Framework is made up of five steps:

  1. Define the system
  2. Identify threats to the system
  3. Identify the level of acceptable change
  4. Identify the desired pathway and related management actions
  5. Monitor and learn

The key points underpinning the Framework are:

  • The five steps in the Framework ask questions and provide example responses as prompts to thinking and planning. The steps have been trialled using case studies with forest managers, conservation organisations and policymakers interested in resilience across a range of different settings. Examples of the responses from these users are shown throughout. The trials showed that the focus of the resilience planning and the possible actions vary for a range of reasons (e.g. depending on the size of the area being considered, management objectives and local context).
  • Those involved in resilience planning need to work together to develop a common understanding around resilience. This Framework can facilitate those conversations.
  • Resilience does not usually require completely new thinking. It is more likely to involve bringing together existing ideas and priorities, and working through these in a joined-up, step-by-step way. A blank worksheet with the key questions related to each framework step is available in further resources.
  • Resilience can be achieved through a set of actions that help with resisting, recovering or adapting to threats. A fourth situation (transformation) can sometimes also occur which can be positive or negative. How these responses are prioritised will depend on the woodland, trees or area of interest.

Who should use this framework?

This Framework is aimed at managers of trees, woodlands and forests, as well as other stakeholders with an interest in these habitats (e.g. policymakers, community groups). It applies across a range of management objectives and a diversity of settings, from urban amenity trees to ancient woodlands to commercial plantations. It can be tailored to a range of spatial scales from local to national, and to a range of timescales. The Framework steps can also be applied by related businesses and organisations such as sawmills and nurseries.

When and where is it useful?

The Framework may be useful in various contexts:

  • Facilitating planning within an organisation, or discussions between organisations (including those who may have differing priorities);
  • Considering ways of enhancing the resilience of trees, woodlands and forests;
  • Reacting to concern about increasing threats, e.g. tree pests and diseases;
  • Responding to an organisational drive to focus on resilience;
  • Demonstrating planning for resilience to internal or external stakeholders;
  • Exploring the resilience concept, challenging current thinking and reassessing perspectives.

The Framework is designed to be valuable for people interested in resilience across a range of different settings and in relation to different types of threats. The text below shows how it can link with wider policy, using tree health in England as an example:

The key recent tree health document is Defra's Tree Health Resilience Strategy (THRS). This describes policy objectives to protect England's tree population from pest and disease threats. It sets out the reasoning and the strategy for building resilience, including actions to resist, respond to, recover from, and adapt to these threats. The identification of actions in the THRS relates closely to Step 4 of this Framework.

The Framework can be used to support implementing the THRS. It helps to encourage a joined-up process for thinking about resilience (Behavioural goal 5) and to identifying the most appropriate actions to take (Chapter 6 of the THRS). Those with a focus on tree health should also consult the THRS for potential actions and the rationale for focusing on resilience in relation to pests and diseases.

Other strategies will provide equivalent context for those focussing on other threats or trees, woodlands and forests in other countries.

Forest Research: Francesca Boyd, James Robinson, Mariella Marzano, Kevin WattsChris Quine
JNCC: Paul Woodcock

Next: go to The resilience concept
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