Sector makes joint pledge towards more resilient forests

Representatives of the forestry industry, landowners and tree nurseries have agreed a plan of action to secure more resilient woodlands to benefit both business and wildlife in a changing climate.

Image: Timo Newton-Syms
Image: Timo Newton-Syms

Representing the sector's contribution under the first National Adaptation Programme report, the Climate Change Accord commits it to supplying and growing a greater diversity of tree species, considering the provenance of seed, sharing skills and experiences among woodland managers and expanding alternative silvicultural systems such as continuous cover forestry.

Forestry Commission chair Sir Harry Studholme said: "Forestry professionals have always been adaptable and we can make informed decisions and take action now to reduce and spread the risk to our businesses and the benefits forests provide to society."

Environment minister Rory Stewart added: "It's crucial we take the changing climate into account in all our decision making and I congratulate the forestry industry on these proposals. By ensuring we manage our woodlands carefully and plant more diverse species we can improve the resilience of our forests and safeguard them from the risks posed by climate change."

At the same time forestry professionals, including woodland owners and managers, agents and tree nursery businesses, are being asked for their assessment on how well the sector is adapting to environmental change.

Also launched by Stewart this week, the British Woodland Survey 2015, funded by the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust and hosted by the Sylva Foundation, is now live online, with preliminary findings expected in early October. The results will inform the government's follow-up National Adaptation Programme report.

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