Making your woodland or forest more resilient

Our woodlands provide us with so many benefits, these include:

  • supplying timber which supports our economy and rural communities
  • space for wildlife
  • opportunities for recreation
  • a connection to our culture and heritage

We are facing a climate and nature emergency. Our woodlands are under threat from the impacts of climate change as well as pests and diseases.

We need to make our woodlands and forests more resilient for the future.

Diverse woodlands are more resilient, they recover better from disturbances, such as a disease outbreak or fire. Diverse woodlands can hopefully withstand extreme weather events like gales or floods.

Increasing diversity and improving resilience of our woodlands and forests is a key part of the UK Forestry Standard.

How to make your woodland or forest more resilient

It’s important to start making these changes now as our climate is already changing. 

There are three actions you can take to make your woodland or forest more resilient.

Diversify your tree species

Plant a wider range or greater diversity of tree species. You can match the species to the characteristics of the site and future climate conditions.

Climate change will lead to some tree species growing better in Wales than they have in the past. Other tree species will do less well because of drought or pest attacks.

Planting a wider range of species now is the best approach to make sure your woodland or forest will do well in the future.

Improve the structure of your woodland

Think about how you are managing your woodland. Include harvesting, thinning, and replanting as part of the management system. Try and improve the structure of your woodlands so they are more diverse. It is also helpful to plan for access to your woodland or forest to support thinning operations.

Choose trees that will grow in a warmer climate

Consider the origin of your tree species that you are planting. Try and pick tree species that can survive, adapt, and evolve under changing environmental conditions. Look at tree species from more southerly locations that are likely to be better adapted to our climate in Wales in the future.

Find out more

We have developed woodland resilience guides to help you improve the diversity of your woodland or forest. We have guides on:

There is also helpful information on the Forest Research Climate Change Hub.

The UK Forestry Standard has produced a guide on adapting forest and woodland management to the changing climate.  

Forest research has also produced a series of climate change factsheets to help you.

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