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Action by the Forestry Commission

The following pages are a summary of the advice given to Forest Enterprise staff. It is hoped that, through using Forest Enterprise's actions as an exemplar, others within the forest industry may be encouraged to take adaptive actions despite the uncertainties surrounding the details of how climate change will unfold.

Forestry Commission England has a climate change action plan that will ensure the woods we manage play their part in responding to the challenges of climate change. Our programme of work will contribute to both adaptation and mitigation, creating the best opportunity for our woodlands and trees to continue to deliver the multiple benefits of sustainable forestry. This plan is complementary to the Forestry Commission's 'Business Sustainability Plan' that is intended to reduce the Forestry Commission's carbon footprint.

We will do this by:

  • Implementing the recommendations contained within the new UK Forestry Standard. Our progress will be independently audited against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), accredited by Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™);
  • managing our business in a sustainable way, within an Environmental Management System (EMS), consistently reducing our demands on non-renewable resources. Our progress against this will be independently audited against ISO 14001.

In summary ‘sustainable work practices’ should be a consideration of everything we do. 

  • We will adopt the principle of anticipatory adaptation as this offers the highest potential gains for forest resilience, and the benefits they provide.
  • We will take an approach that is ‘not risk averse’. We will take considered, informed risks, rather than doing nothing, and waiting for climate change science to become more certain.
  • We will identify: who will participate in the activities; when this will happen; and how we will monitor and evaluate our rate of progress.
  • The plan will be monitored annually and reviewed every 5 years.

This plan outlines actions to increase the resilience of our woodlands to the middle of the century under a range of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions scenarios. If global emissions are not effectively reduced and a ‘high emissions scenario’ becomes a reality, a greater level of intervention will be required to start transforming our forests to ensure their long-term survival.

The measures outlined within this plan will increase the resilience of our woodlands to a changing climate and through practising adaptive management we will hopefully put forest managers of the future in a position to react to such dramatic change.


Last updated: 22nd September 2016