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Climate Change Accord

Climate Change Adaptation in Action:  

The RFS is a leading proponent of the Climate Change Accord: a call for resilient woods, forests and trees. A copy of the Accord can be found in the resources section on the right hand side of this page. 

The RFS is also a member of the Accord's Forestry Climate Change Working Group (FCCWG) which is chaired by RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd. A progress report by Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor, Chief Executive of Sylva Foundation, and a member of the Forestry and Climate Change Working Group, can also be downloaded right.

The RFS policy on resilient woods is below:

Our view of key issues

The long-term health of Britain’s woods and trees is threatened by rapid environmental change. We need to take action to increase the resilience of our woodlands so that they can better adapt to this challenge. This will require significant change to many well established and widely accepted woodland management practices. This will take time and will require a collective effort across the forestry sector to ensure this transition is well informed by available evidence, and all landowners and managers are engaged in the process.

How we are adapting and supporting adaptation

The RFS is the largest and longest established education charity dedicated to promoting the wise management of woods and trees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have a vital role to play in raising awareness and understanding of the importance of adapting our woods to cope better with the threats of pests, disease and climate change. We are well placed to disseminate practical and applied knowledge to all those with an active interest in woodland management and to educate the general public.

The RFS directly supports and encourages a healthy woodland sector. We believe that ecological resilience must go hand in hand with the long-term financial sustainability of our woods, and these twin objectives are entirely aligned. Our long-term aspiration is to see all woodland in Britain brought back into management and managed well. We believe that well managed woods will adapt better to a changing climate, and support both woodland ecology and wider landscape adaptation, compared to unmanaged or under-managed woodland.

What we are doing

  • In 2014 the RFS ran the Excellence in Forestry Woodlands for Climate Change Award with the support of FC England and Climate Ready. In 2016 we launch an Excellence in Forestry Resilient Woods Award category to run for five years.
  • The RFS and Woodland Trust national conference: Resilient Woodlands: meeting the challenges, intended to raise awareness of the issues and offer practical advice to all those with an active interest in the care of trees and woods.
  • The RFS, with FC England, Forest Research and Sylva Foundation, is a partner in Silvifuture (www.silvifuture.org.uk) a network established to promote and share knowledge about novel tree species across Britain. An online database enables woodland owners and forestry professionals to add, search and share information of more than sixty tree species, many of which are less well known or tested in Britain.
  • The RFS, with support from selected forest nurseries, FC England and Tubex, launched Conifers for Colleges to raise awareness of the value of conifers and their role in a resilient landscape and to establish a long-term research project to assess the performance of a wide range of alternative conifer species, with results fed into the SilviFuture database. There are five participating colleges so far.
  • The RFS owns three demonstration woodlands. They are managed to balance commercial, environmental and public access objectives. Hockeridge and Battram woods have a wide mix of conifer and broadleaf species and our Leighton redwood grove is one of the largest and oldest of its kind in the country. All three represent an excellent research and learning opportunity for woodland owners engaged in adapting their woods to climate change.
  • The RFS is launching a scheme to support new woodland owners to bring their woods back into management by offering them the opportunity to meet with experienced woodland managers to provide initial advice and guidance.
  • The RFS disseminates knowledge and insight about all aspects of woodland management online (www.rfs.org.uk), in print (QJF) and face to face (80+ woodland events a year). This knowledge transfer process regularly features news, research and information about all aspects of the adaptation challenge.
  • We encouraged members to take part in the 2015 British Woodlands Survey on Resilience. The case studies on the right demonstrated how important it was to take part. 

Our intended outcomes for 2020

  • A substantial increase in the proportion of woodland under management, supported by well- informed advice and encouraged by strong domestic demand and prices for UK produced wood products.
  • Diversity of species and genetics within species, including non-native species, accepted as the norm not the exception and based on best available evidence.
  • More widespread application of sound silvicultural and ecological practices consistent with principles of adaptation and production of quality timber.
  • A substantial reduction in the adverse impact of pests such as the grey squirrel and deer on woodlands as a result of more widespread application of better control methods and landowner collaboration.
  • More skilled people seeking careers at all levels in forestry to support the increased level of activity which this journey demands.