Management of multifunctional forests (MULTIFOR)

Developing sustainable management to balance the economic, ecological and social roles of woodlands in south east England and north east France

SummaryWildlife pond at Mabie Forest

This four-year project involved a partnership of research organisations and local authorities from northern France and southern England, two regions with similar production and semi-natural forest ecosystems. Forest Research helped to develop common management strategies to maximise the economic, environmental and social benefits from forests in the two regions and to improve their resilience to climate change.

Key findings and outputs

  • Strategic plan to optimise management at 35 privately owned sites in Kent and East Sussex to meet ecological, social and economic objectives
  • Annual phenological observations at sites in the UK and France to monitor tree health and compare climate change responses and adaptation on either side of the Channel
  • Tree provenance planting trial – beech seeds from trees in Picardie were planted in northern France
  • Comparison of biodiversity assessment methodologies and testing of the Potential Biodiversity Index (PBI)
  • Experimental plot matching between sites in France and England to evaluate different adaptive forest management strategies
  • School exchange between Forest Schools in Kent and primary schools in Pas de Calais
  • Joint action plan to develop the wood fuel sector in England and France
  • Actions to improve forest connectivity using GIS, ecological and archaeological surveys and by large-scale hedge planting
  • Opening of suitable private sites to the public on both sides of the Channel

Forest Research involvement

Working with other partners, the Forest Research team selected and surveyed forest plots on contrasting soil types across the south-east of England, observing patterns in tree ring growth, plant and bird diversity and the timing of seasonal cycles (leafing, budding, autumn leaf fall). Forest Research sites provided ‘climate change plots’ in experiments to test the ability of seeds collected from trees in southern France to germinate and grow across a range of different climate conditions.

Specific Forest Research activities

Funders and partners

Funder organisation logos

European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg IVA 2 Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 (50%)

Forestry Commission (50%)





Dr. Nadia Barsoum