Adapting England's woodland to reduce abiotic and biotic impacts from climate change

Summary of the main impacts of climate change and potential adaptation strategies in England’s woodlands and forests, identified through expert panel discussions and the synthesis of peer reviewed work.

Note: read across rows of the tables for example citations to support the factors and relationships between impacts and adaptation. Full references are provided following the tables.

Species suitability, growth, and abiotic impacts

Factor Impact Adaptation measure Some supporting citations
Longer growing season1 Earlier bud burst, later bud set, more lammas growth2 Select material up 2o latitude south of site3, and up to 5o south as a small component of mixed provenance stock in species of low frost sensitivity (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1,(Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Broadmeadow & Ray, 2005)2, (Hubert & Cottrell, 2007)3
Warmer growing season1 increased CO2 concentration2 Increased growth rates3, improved yield (2-4 m3 ha-1an-1 increase for conifers Choose conifer and broadleaf species that will produce better quality timber grown in a warmer climate, but beware of frost sensitive species on frost prone sites (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1,(Hulme et al., 2002)1,2,(Cannell, 2002)3,(Briceno-Elizondo et al., 2006)3 (Hasenauer et al., 1999)3 (Proe, Allison & Matthews, 1996)3, (Ray, Pyatt & Broadmeadow, 2002)4, (Broadmeadow & Ray, 2005)1,2, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)4
Fewer frost days – milder winters1 Reduced hardening, later dormancy, increased risk of autumn frost damage to sensitive species with extended growing season 2 Change to less frost sensitive species/provenances; change to species requiring less cold to harden, and increase genetic diversity 3 (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1, (Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Thomas, Blank & Hartmann, 2002)2, (Broadmeadow & Ray, 2005)2, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)2, (Hubert & Cottrell, 2007)3
Reduced summer rainfall1 More frequent and drier summers2, reduced growth3, increased drought stress4, increased fire frequency5 Change/mix species to drought tolerant types on sensitive sites6. Contingency plan and regular training for fighting fire (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1, (Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)2,3,4,5, (Ciais et al., 2005)2,3,4, (Thomas, Blank & Hartmann, 2002)2,3,4, (Green & Ray, 2009)4,6,(Broadmeadow et al., 2009)6
Increased winter rainfall Increased waterlogging and anaerobiosis2, increased wind damage3, increased soil erosion4 Shorter rotation, Switch to species tolerant of wet soil on sensitive sites, smaller coupes, self-thinning mixtures, forest operations controls 5 (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1, (Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Nisbet, 2002)2,3,4, (Ray, 2008)5, (Mason, Nicoll & Perks, 2009)5

Disturbance, management, and biotic impacts

Factor Impact Adaptation measure Some supporting citations
Longer growing season1 More generations of insect pests per year (voltinicity increases)2 Increase tree species diversity; enhanced monitoring and intervention where possible or appropriate 3 (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1,(Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Jactel & Brockerhoff, 2007)2,3
Milder winters1, warmer growing season2, increased CO­2 concentration3 Increased productivity4, Increase in woodland mammals5, tree invertebrate pests6 and tree diseases7, colonisation of alien invasive species Increase deer and squirrel management effort; enhanced pest and pathogen monitoring and intervention where appropriate. Mix tree species in forests6 (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1,(Hulme et al., 2002)1,2,3, (Cannell, 2002)4, (Pettorelli et al., 2005)5, (Irvine et al., 2007)5,(Lonsdale & Gibbs, 2002)6, Evans, 2002 #494]7, (Jactel & Brockerhoff, 2007)6, (Green & Ray, 2009) 7
Increased windiness Increased wind damage1, increased bark beetle damage2 and increase bluestain fungus infection in stands3 Reduce risk through shorter rotations, species diversification and early thinning, and self-thinning mixtures 4. (Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Quine & Gardiner, 2002) 1, (Schlyter et al., 2006) 1,2, (Redfern et al., 1987) 2, (Gibbs & Inman, 1991)3, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)4, (Mason, Nicoll & Perks, 2009)4
Reduced summer rainfall Increased fire frequency2, increased drought damage2 and secondary pest/pathogen outbreaks, increased risk of drought damage and secondary infection from drought stress3 Amend species choice; more thinning to reduce moisture demand in open stands; increase public awareness and control of activity4 (Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)2,(Green & Ray, 2009)3, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)4, (Lawrence & Carter, 2009)4, (Handley & Gill, 2009)4
Increased winter rainfall1 Anaerobic stress; increased Phytophthora infection2; endemic windthrow due to waterlogging3; slope failure4 Change/mix to tolerant species3; self-thinning mixtures3; shorten rotation length; change silvicultural system on steep slopes (Jenkins, Perry & Prior, 2007)1,(Hulme et al., 2002)1, (Thomas, Blank & Hartmann, 2002) 2, (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005)3, (Mason, Nicoll & Perks, 2009)4

References

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Broadmeadow, M. & Ray, D. (2005). Climate change and British Woodland Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Broadmeadow, M., Ray, D. & Samuel, C. (2005). Climate change and the future for broadleaved tree species in Britain. Forestry, 78(2), 145-67.

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