Development of Alice Holt Forest Climate Change Adaptation Demonstration Areas

Summary

This project is developing demonstrations of climate change adaptation measures in Alice Holt Forest. It aims to provide examples on the ground of where adaptive management and planning for future conditions can reduce the impact of the changing climate. We are doing this to understand how we can improve the resilience of forest stands to environmental change.

Research objectives

To co-develop, plan and implement aspects of adaptive practice into woodland management on the Public Forest Estate so as to:

  • Develop demonstration activities and case studies to explain and share learning about adaptation actions in forestry;
  • Inform future forest management decisions at Alice Holt Forest;
  • Better understand the process and impact of implementing adaptive practice;
  • Inspire adaptive management in the forestry sector.

Results so far

Through collaborative work between Forest Research and Forestry Commission England South District we have been able to analyse adaptation measures and identify adaptation actions suitable for Alice Holt Forest and integrate them into the new Alice Holt Forest Design Plan.

scientist fitting a girth band on a treeeWe have been able to select three areas suitable for climate change adaptation demonstration activity to inform key audiences.

This has provided us with insights into the process of planning and delivering forest adaptation actions, in particular the selection of measures and the process of their integration into forest planning and the practicalities of adapting current woodland to future climates.

Baseline monitoring to assess key environmental parameters (including soils, ground vegetation, and tree growth) ahead of forest management operations to create the demonstration areas. Meteorological data are available from the nearby weather station at Alice Holt Lodge.

What is next?

The operations to create the demonstration areas will occur in winter 2017 / 2018. Under-planting in the demonstration areas is scheduled for spring 2018.

Status

The project started in 2015 and will be completed by 2019.

Related products/services

Consultancy services related to Ecological Site Classification are available.

Related resources

Ecological Site Classification (ESC), a decision support tool to assess species suitability to deliver ecosystem services to the end of the century.

Contact

Dr Gail Atkinson.

Funders and partners

Forestry Commission

Forestry Commission policy

The project supports a number of requirements for adaptation of forest and woodland to the changing climate, set out in the UKFS.

In particular, we demonstrate how to:

  • Implement requirements to maintain or establish a diverse composition within the forest management unit and encourage a representative range of the native species associated with the woodland type.
  • Consider the risks and opportunities of climate change and vulnerability to pests and diseases for particular species.
  • Consider a wider range of tree species than has been typical of past planting, and the use of planting material from more southerly origins.
  • Choose trees or shrubs which are well adapted to the site and which will promote future adaptation.
  • Encourage natural regeneration of native tree and shrub species to promote natural selection and climate change adaptation.