The Forestry Commission has called for change in approaches to tree planting following the reveal of last year’s winter storm damage.

Forest research assessments published yesterday (Wednesday, November 30) show almost 12,750ha of tree loss was caused by storms last winter in Great Britain, with approximately 3,350ha of damage recorded in England.

In light of the research findings, William Worseley, chair of the Forestry Commission, has called for landowners and forest managers to consider planting more diverse and resilient tree species in the face of a changing climate.

Their long-term prosperity, he said, will depend on their resilience to threats caused by climate change, including:

  • Stronger gales;
  • Drought;
  • Emerging pests and diseases;
  • Evolving weather patterns;
  • Severe weather events.

Worsely said that these forestry figures highlight the challenges the country is facing as a result of climate change and more frequent and extreme storm events.

“The woodlands of the future need to be planted and managed differently if they are to not only survive, but thrive in the future,” he said.

“Now and in the long term, we need a wider range of tree species and age profiles across the country.

“This targeted approach will ensure the long-term resilience of our precious woodlands.

“At a national scale, the level of loss is comparatively modest, but the loss of trees can also have a devastating impact on individual woodland owners, and we continue to support the forestry sector and partners with their recovery from winter storms.”