Tool to plan for woodland resilience

A new tool to help forest managers evaluate the different options for making their woodlands resilient

To sustain benefits - known as ecosystem services – from forests into the future we need to know about the pressures and impacts affecting their provision, such as those which arise due to our changing climate.  Climate change is one of the main threats affecting British forests.  Planned and appropriate adaptation actions are needed to minimise climate impacts and to sustain the benefits forests provide.  

To provide evidence about impacts from those pressures and propose feasible adaptation options, a new research approach has emerged in water management. Forest Research has modified this approach so it is applicable to forestry and has termed it an ‘Action Expiration Chart’ (AEC).

The chart, with input from users, helps to assess the feasibility of forest management actions into the future and to identify sustainable future adaptation options. In addition, it helps to identify and avoid potential critical thresholds, which if exceeded, can cause potentially harmful and irreversible effects on the services forests provide.

Initial work has focussed on the application of the AEC method to forest planning in the New Forest.  It concludes that the main strengths of the approach are to combine simulated ecosystem services with management actions, address and communicate climate change uncertainty, define thresholds when management decisions should change, and provide a direction and options for climate change adaptation.  The method has some limitations which Forest Research are addressing through further collaboration and testing with forest planners - if you are interested in applying it to your area, please contact Michal Petr.

A fuller explanation of the work was published in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry, July 2017 and is available on this web page with the kind permission of Royal Forestry Society.

Petr, M. and Ray, D. 2017 Evaluating Options for Robust Forest Adaptation to Climate Change – introduction of the adaptation expiration chart method. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, Vol 111, No. 3, pp.183 -187.

Find out more about our work on climate change adaptation.


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