Species and provenance choice for adapting England’s woodlands

Extending tree species choice

A warmer climate may provide conditions for a wider range of species that were considered not-reliably cold-hardy in the past. The table suggests species that could be considered. Species on the left have been trialled in plots across Britain, whereas those on the right have not been screened or trialled, although new trials are in preparation for some species. 

Extending provenance choice

Results from a very limited number of European wide provenance trials suggest that material from 2 degrees of latitude south of a site should be better adapted to a warmer climate, and that by adding a wider range of provenance into woodlands an improvement in resilience to the effects of climate change will occur, and improved productivity might be achieved. Recent Advice suggests that in addition small amounts of provenance material from up to 5 degrees of latitude of a site may be mixed in woodlands.

Climate matching

It is possible match the location of contemporary climate to those projected for a site in the future. Forest Research has a climate matching tool that can be used to show where species and provenance material might be sourced for sites in England.

Projected climatic conditions in Kent for 2050 and 2080 Low and High emissions scenarios:

Projected climatic conditions in Kent for 2050 Low emissions scenario Projected climatic conditions in Kent for 2050 High emissions scenario Projected climatic conditions in Kent for 2080 Low emissions scenario Projected climatic conditions in Kent for 2080 High emissions scenario

Frost

Although the warmer climate may suit species and provenance from further south in Europe, it is important to remember the difference between winter cold and frost. There is a danger that the extended early and late growing season that will accompany a changing climate could potentially put trees at more risk of damage by frost. Therefore, it is always better to choose species that are less sensitive to frost on sites (flat, east or south facing) that are susceptible to frost.

Additional species to consider

Below is a list of tree species, presented in the Read Report, that might be suitable of particular sites.
Some additional tree species that might be considered in climate change adaptation strategies for production forestry in England.

  Species for which there is existing UK-based knowledge of performance from operational trials/ forest gardens/arboreta Species for which there is little or no UK trials data but expert knowledge suggests that they merit screening for UK potential
Conifers Abies alba Abies bornmuelleriana
Abies amabilis Abies cephalonica
Abies nordmanniana Pinus armandii
Cedrus atlantica Pinus ayacahuite
Cedrus libani Pinus brutia
Cryptomeria japonica Pinus elliottii
Picea omorika Pinus koraiensis
Picea orientalis Pinus monticola
Pinus peuce Pinus strobus
Pinus pinaster Pinus taeda
Sequoia sempervirens Pinus wallichiana
Thuja plicata Pinus yunnanensis
Broadleaves Acer macrophyllum Betula papyrifera
Acer saccharinum Carya ovata
Alnus rubra Eucalyptus spp.
Alnus viridens Fagus orientalis
Eucalyptus gunnii Fraxinus americana
Eucalyptus nitens Fraxinus angustifolia
Juglans regia Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Nothofagus obliqua Juglans nigra
Nothofagus alpina (syn. N. procera) Liriodendron tulipfera
Nothofagus pumilio Quercus alba
Platanus spp. Quercus frainetto
Populus spp. Quercus pubescens
  Quercus pyrenaica