Impacts of Climate Change on Forestry in Scotland: A Synopsis of Spatial Modelling Research
This Research Note provides an initial synopsis of the likely impacts of climate change, with preliminary recommendations to support development of a climate change action plan for forestry in Scotland.
Climate change will create many challenges and opportunities for Scotland’s forest industry. Productivity will increase in some areas and a wider selection of species will become suitable. However, there are also potential threats, including drought, increased insect and disease damage, and wind damage, hence new techniques to combat these will be necessary. There are many uncertainties associated with climate change, and its likely impact on trees, management systems and forest operations. A key basis for risk planning and management is diversification; from broadening the choice of genetic material, mixing tree species in stands, to varying management systems and the timing of operations. Scotland’s aspiration to expand woodland from 17% to 25% of land area by 2050 provides an opportunity to target reforestation within habitat networks. This will reduce woodland fragmentation and thereby help improve the resilience of woodland ecosystems to climate change.