Forestry, conservation, government bodies and membership organisations including the CLA, have come together to present a united partnership reaffirming their commitment to work together to promote the importance of adapting trees, woods and forests to climate change.
The Forestry and Climate Change Partnership (FCCP) has published the Forestry and Climate Change Adaptation Accord which sets out a collective vision that Britain’s trees, woods and forests are resilient to climate change and therefore able to meet their full potential to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
With another year of low rainfall and a dry summer with wildfires causing damage across the country and potential droughts possibly on the horizon, this new programme for the future of our woodlands has come at a very important time.
Those who are creating new woodlands now need to factor-in a changing climate into planting decisions if the woods are to survive and thrive.
There is an urgent need to improve the resilience of both newly created and existing woodland to climate change. This requires significant change to widely accepted and practised systems of woodland and land management. Greater awareness is needed for the importance of adopting a broader range of species, diversity of genetics, age and stand structure, and improved connectivity in the landscape.
Commenting on the new accord, Dr Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and Chair of the FCCP, said: "The recently renamed Forestry and Climate Change Partnership represents an unusual level of collaboration and a powerful agreement to work together to make change happen, fast." Dr Hemery continued: "Our trees, woods and forests are faced with unprecedented rates of climate change and increased environmental threats such as pests and pathogens. Only by working together, and with the support of individual woodland owners and professionals, will we be able to rise to meet these challenges, with an ambition to bounce back better.
Our trees, woods and forests are faced with unprecedented rates of climate change and increased environmental threats such as pests and pathogens
Welcoming the news that the partnership will be continuing at this critical time, CLA President Mark Tufnell said: “The CLA is proud to be part of the Forestry and Climate Change Partnership, which exists to make the case for adaptation, promote training, and help shape research priorities and develop future policy.” Mark added: “Planting new woodlands is very important, however we also need to manage existing trees so they can continue to provide the valuable products and benefits they give us."
Regarding future woodland management, Mark concluded by saying: “Those who are creating new woodlands now need to factor-in a changing climate into planting decisions if the woods are to survive and to thrive. Our existing trees will have to adapt to a future climate very different to the one in which they were established. Woodland management practice will have to accommodate this and adapt with the changing climate."
For further reading on the FCCP partnership, read our latest explorative blog post here.