Climate change is the greatest long-term challenge facing the world today. It is now widely believed that climate change is happening and that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are its main cause.
The South West is not immune from the effects of climate change, and recent weather events suggest that it is in the front line of experiencing increasingly stormy and extreme conditions. The region can also play its part in helping to reduce man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.
The likely impacts of climate change on the trees, woods and forests of the South West has already been studied and a report sets out possible scenarios. Predicting climate change is not an exact science and further work will be needed to help owners and managers plan for the future.
Adapting to the immediate and obvious impacts of climate change is a priority and practical advice has been produced that gives guidance to those who look after trees, woods and forests in the region. A leaflet (PDF 459KB) is available.
The Forestry Commission is at the forefront of national and international efforts to understand and respond to the effects of climate change on how trees woods and forests. The key issues and background are available on the Forestry Commission's Climate Change webpages.
Technical and scientific information is available from the Forest Research Climate Change website.
Many organisations in the South West are working together to help manage and adapt to the impacts of climate change and have formed a climate change impacts partnership (SWCCIP website).
Mitigating, or reducing the causes of climate change is something we can all play our part in as individuals, communities and organisations by reducing our carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Trees, woods and forests also have a role to play in mitigation. They do this by storing carbon in growing trees and soils, through woodfuel being used as a source of low carbon, renewable energy and through substituting for high energy materials in construction such as steel and concrete. See the Forestry Commission’s website for guidance on woodfuel, and www.woodforgood.com for substitution.