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Forest Services England, Adaptation in Action

Our view of key issues

There is insufficient species diversity in woodland in England to accommodate the risks posed by a changing climate and the increasing number of pest and disease outbreaks.

In the absence of the proactive use of the genetic variability inherent in our native tree species, many will become increasingly ‘unsuitable’.

The fragmented nature of woodlands in England places England’s woodland wildlife at risk.

The lack of management in many of England’s woodlands is limiting evolutionary adaptation to climate change and the ability to intervene to increase resilience.

How we are adapting and supporting adaptation

As Government’s forestry adviser and regulator, our priority is to encourage the forestry sector to increase the resilience of England’s woodlands. This involves improving our understanding and evidence base.  

What we are doing

We have set resilience and climate change adaptation as the bedrock of the Science and Innovation Strategy for British Forestry, providing the evidence for woodland managers to make pro-active choices to adapt to climate change.

We have established climate change adaptation as a requirement for receiving grant-aid through the UKFS’s Forests and Climate Change Guidelines.

We have introduced the assessment of future climate risk to proposed planting stock in the validation process for the Woodland Carbon Code.

We are working with woodland owners and the Future Trees Trust to establish an improved resource of high quality seed stands in the UK.

We are encouraging the nursery sector to stock a wider variety of tree species and improved planting stock from more southerly origins.

We are actively engaging woodland managers  to implement adaptation measures appropriate to their woodland type and management objectives.

We have developed guidance to support woodland owners in adapting to climate change.

We are challenging the status quo through active and open debate to highlight the risks that climate change presents to England’s woodlands.

We are targeting the Countryside Stewardship woodland creation grant to create larger, more resilient woodlands, further develop woodland habitat networks and in locations where it will help to reduce flooding.

We are developing new funding models to increase the rate of woodland creation to enhance the resilience of the overall resource.

We have established a pro-active Woods into Management programme to improve the condition and resilience of England’s woodlands.


Our intended outcomes for 2020

A greater variety of UK-grown tree species and provenances available in English nurseries – with woodland managers using adapted planting stock appropriately and with confidence.

A growing and robust evidence base and guidance being used by woodland owners and managers to inform planting, including situations where it is appropriate to plant more southerly seed origins as an adaptation measure. 

Around 70% of England’s woodlands in active management with increased levels of recruitment.

Active monitoring and management of any pest and disease introductions to minimise their impact on British woodlands.

At least 10,000 ha of resilient new woodlands have been planted through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Contacts: Mark Broadmeadow:

John Weir: