How Is Climate Change Affecting British Trees?
The climate change is a challenge for british foresters and aboriculturists because the forecast, and indeed already noted increases in temperature, changes in rainfall patterns, and an more and more extreme weather events increasinly complicate woodland management. By adapting forest management techniques and practices now, in anticipation of future changes, we can attempt to increase resilience by reducing risk exposure in the forest industry and in the many goods functions and services that forests provide for society.
Tree productivity will go up in some areas and down in others depending on the prevalent species. Some relatively less known species will become more suitable – some from other countries with climates more similar to those projected for Britain.
New approaches and techniques of woodland management will be needed to cope with increased threats of drought and risk of damage from pests, diseases, wind and wildfires.
Of course climate change is filled with uncertainties, and the likely impact on trees, forests, and woodlands remains what could be referred to as a "known unknown". This situation should not thwart change and adaptation it should instead encourage woodland managers to use practices that increase resilience under whatever circumstances that climate change brings, or that are most probable to bring the greatest rewards in the future.
The key concept in managing risk is diversification and this will be very important in coming years. Tis can include many things, from increasing the choice of genomes within geographic clusters of species, and also mixing tree species differently, and also by varying management systems and the timing of operations including moving into step with seasonal changes suh as the longer hotter summer we now experience and acknowledging that winters are generally now mild, wet and of shorter duration.