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Climate change and England's woodlands. Key points:

  • England’s woodlands and forests have developed in a relatively stable climate. 
  • An important consideration for native woodlands and their associated biodiversity is that the English Channel has been a barrier to natural migration for more than 8,500 years – however it is no barrier to climate change.   
  • England has warmed by around one degree Celsius since 1970.
  • Under a medium emissions scenario, warming is predicted to increase by a further degree during the next decade and by up to four degrees by 2080.
  • This projected rate of warming is equivalent to southern England moving south at three miles per year!
  • Winters are predicted to become wetter and summers drier, with more frequent and severe periods of summer drought and intense rainfall events.
  • England’s woods and forests have not been subjected to such rapid change since the last ice-age.
  • These changes are predicted to be more severe in the east and south.
  • Due to the inability of the earth’s climate system to respond to past emissions quickly, we are locked into a certain level of climate change over the coming decades.
  • Global emissions are currently tracking close to some of the more extreme emissions scenarios that have been published.
Last updated: 29th September 2015