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Climate change and forestry adaptation

Objectives: This mock case study used dummy data in a bio-geochemical process-based model of forest evapotranspiration (ETP) and gross primary production. The resulting analysis of the likelihood of possible effects, their magnitudes and associated thresholds allows an assessment of forestry adaptation requirements to be made.

How they used UKCP09 dummy data

1. Some of the units from the Weather Generator runs were reformatted to be compatible with the forest ETP model.

2. Each of the 100 30-year model runs (for the averaging period, location, emissions scenario and time period specified alongside) were run through the forest ETP model separately.

3. The modelled outputs were compared to the baseline results by focusing on the frequency of modelled events at annual and sub-annual time scales. This gave an indicator of major impacts and risks e.g. drought episodes and growth potential given different emissions scenarios.

Next steps

This analysis was only performed for one averaging period, location, emissions scenario and time period. Future study could repeat this process using contrasting scenarios, sites and species selections when more data becomes available.

Lessons learned

Some key lessons that emerged from the study included:

  • Being able to use multiple sets of data derived from the probabilistic projections enabled a risk assessment to be made. This could be used to evaluate adaptation management possibilities.
  • The Weather Generator outputs require a clear definition of variable and units.
  • Running 100 runs of the Weather Generator through the forestry model is time consuming (approximately 2 hours for one selection) hence parallel runs would be recommended. Analysis tools will need to be developed to concentrate on key indices of interest to their sector.
  • Two separate Weather Generator runs (of different grid squares) will not spatially correlate.
  • Wind speed information was not available, limiting some analyses.

Find out more

  • Contact details: Tim Randle, Modelling Systems, Forest Research; James Morison, Environmental and Human Sciences Division, Forest Research
  • Download the full report [119kb] 
  • Evans S.P., Randle T., Henshall P., Arcangeli C., Pellenq J., Lafont S., Vials C. (2004) Recent advances in mechanistic modelling of forest stands and catchments, Forest Research Annual Report 2003-2004. Stationery Office, London
  • Broadmeadow M. S. J. (ed.) (2002) Climate Change: Impacts on UK Forests. FC Bulletin 125, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
  • Broadmeadow M. S. J. (2000) Climate Change - Implications for Forestry in Britain. FC Information Note, Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
  • Forest Research & climate change website