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Ecological Site Classification Decision Support System (ESC-DSS)

The Ecological Site Classification Decision Support System (ESC-DSS) is a PC-based system to help guide forest managers and planners to select ecologically suited species to sites, instead of selecting a species and trying to modify the site to suit.

ESC-DSS is designed to match key site factors with the ecological requirements of different tree species and woodland communities, as defined in the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) for Great Britain.

It provides a user friendly way of working out options for tree species and native woodland communities on individual sites. The user is required to input just two pieces of site information:

  • Grid reference
  • Soil type

More precise estmates of soil quality and suitability of tree species and woodland communities can be obtained by inputting more detailed site information.

ESC-DSS assesses the suitability of a range of tree species and NVC woodland communities. The evaluation is based on the match between key site factors and the ecological requirements of different species and the ecology of woodland communities defined in the NVC.

ESC 3 incorporates future climate change projections for the 2050 and 2080 low and high scenarios of UKCIP02 to allow users to incorporate future suitability into planting decisions.We advise the use of the high emissions scenario for 2050, and encourage use of the high emissions scenario for 2080.

ESC - PC-based decision support system for British forests

Current release

Version 3.0

ESC3 is available as web-based software that you operate through your web browser.

See How to register to use ESC-DSS for more detail.

A series of ESC tutorial videos are now available

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