Progress Towards Climate Change Actions

posted on September 6, 2019
Forestry Climate Change Action Plan progress report 2019

Forestry Climate Change Action Plan progress report 2019

Today, a progress report of the Forestry Climate Change Action Plan is published to coincide with a seminar held at the Confor Woodland Show.

Overall, there is some evidence of progress since the plan was published last year, but equally it is clear that most actions are still underway. In the year since publication, a series of important national and international reports have strengthened the need for action, including:

  • the United Nations IPCC Special Report citing 12 years to avert a ‘climate change catastrophe’
  • the Met Office UK climate change projections (UKCP18)
  • the UK Committee of Climate Change advice to Government
  • Government’s amended Climate Change Act (2008)
  • the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change on land management

Sylva Foundation CEO, Dr Gabriel Hemery, who has helped spearhead the whole initiative from its inception, said:

“Although some progress is being made, clearly the forestry sector is moving too slowly and with inadequate support, to make the step changes required to deal with the climate crisis. In particular, I urge government to review progress and consider how this work could be resourced.”

Download the report


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Working together to adapt to a changing climate

posted on September 20, 2018

Actions to address significant gaps in forestry policy, research and practice are necessary to deal with the unprecedented pace and scale of environmental change, say forestry organisations launching a new action plan today at APF Exhibition, the UK’s largest forestry show.

Action plan for climate change adaptation of forests, woods and trees in England

Action plan for climate change adaptation of forests, woods and trees in England

Climate change is threatening the health of trees and woods and requires a co-ordinated response to help them adapt and become resilient to its current and projected impacts. A significant group of public and private organisations have identified 13 priority actions and pledged to work together on them over the next five years.

The “Action plan for climate change adaptation of forests, woods and trees in England” was prepared by the Forestry Climate Change Working Group (FCCWG), which represented the 35 organisations who signed a Forestry Climate Change Accord in 2015. Sylva Foundation took a lead role in supporting the creation of the Climate Change Accord, later running workshops which helped to develop the action plan, and then the drafting of the plan itself. Much of the evidence for the action plan arose from recent British Woodland Surveys, particularly BWS2015, which rely on the goodwill of thousands of private woodland owners, foresters and businesses, who shared information about their awareness, actions, and aspirations.

The 13 priority actions address major gaps in current forestry policy, research and practice and are the result of a rigorous process of consultation carried out over the last three years, and are consistent with Defra’s Tree Health Resilience Strategy published earlier this year. The plan also recognises that, in the face of climate change, many traditional forest and woodland management practices need to be revised. Some of the gaps identified include: lack of woodland management by owners; insufficient diversity of planting stock from nurseries; limited uptake of silvicultural practices which limit risk; and, the need for better education and information.

Launching the plan at the APF Exhibition on behalf of the FCCWG, Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of Forestry Commission England said:

Our forests, woodlands and trees are already facing unprecedented challenges from environmental change and the changes will continue. The impacts of this will alter the ecology, the appearance and the management needs of these woods and forests.  We have to adapt because if we do not the costs will be paid by all of us for generations to come. That is why I welcome the launch of this plan to drive forward a truly collaborative response by the forestry sector. It is a remarkable achievement that such a wide range of organisations have been able to agree actions that should ensure our legacy will be of woodlands resilient to the changes they face.

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of Sylva Foundation, commented:

“So much of our work at Sylva is about creating and using evidence to help others make wise decisions about the future of our trees and woodlands. At a strategic level, little of this counts unless there is significant agreement among all stakeholders about what actions should be taken and by who. It has been a privilege to have supported, and witnessed, the coming together of the forestry sector in such an unprecedented way. We hope the resulting action plan will support positive change in policy, practice, and research over the coming five years and beyond.

 Download the Action Plan (pdf)

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Your last chance to take part in the 2017 national woodlands survey

posted on September 25, 2017

British Woodlands Survey 2017

We’ve been delighted with the response over the summer months to the 2017 British Woodlands Survey. So far more than 1,600 woodland owners, agents, foresters, forest school practitioners, and forestry and wood businesses have taken part in the national web-based survey.

Devolution, pests & pathogens, Brexit, emerging markets, climate change, societal attitudes . . . these are just some of the momentous factors influencing our trees and woodlands, those who care for them, and those who rely on their products and services. Have your say about what these and other issues mean to you by taking part in Britain’s only dedicated national survey about our woodlands and forestry. This year we have unprecedented interest from policy makers, national organisations, research commissioners and others. Make sure your voice counts!

It’s not too late to take part. The survey closes to responses on Sunday 1st October at 23:59.

Please read more and take the survey:

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T20Q – Top twenty questions for forestry and landscape

posted on October 7, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week at the IUFRO 24th World Congress in Salt Lake City to discuss the future, and the related challenges, facing forests and forest management in the 21st century. This comes hard on the heels of the climate talks in New York in late September, where forests were high on the agenda, the CGIAR Development Dialogues, which aired synergies (and, importantly, gaps) between forestry, agriculture and other land-use sectors, and a Colloquium on Forests and Climate organised by Columbia University and CIFOR, at which leading thinkers considered how we could ‘change the future by challenging the present’.

All of these events provide a ‘sort of scientific crystal ball to give glimpses into the years ahead and discuss how to meet and adapt to coming challenges’, as Congress Spotlight 17 so eloquently put it!

The T20Q project is also a crystal ball and is asking, this time ‘non-leading’ thinkers, to add their no-less-important thoughts to the questions of where forestry’s priorities lie for research and policy.

T20Q – ‘top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes’ is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its Partners. It follows a highly successful ‘T10Q’ project for British foresters, but this time extends the call for questions in three languages to a wider community of people involved with forestry and landscapes. It is being co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation, a leading UK charity promoting evidence-informed forestry.

Response has been excellent so far – reaching people in more than 104 countries, and engaging many more young people and women than is usual with surveys in our field! We have received well over 3000 questions, but we would like to use the opportunity of engaging with the ‘IUFRO family’ now gathered in Salt Lake City to urge them to add their voices and to encourage people in their home institutions also to join the T20Q conversation.

The survey takes less than 30 minutes. Take part if you think:

  • we need to recalibrate how forests are presented in mainstream politics
  • too few people are involved in setting research and policy agendas
  • we should talk about forestry in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • ‘traditional’ forestry topics are being side-lined in the pursuit of broader linkages


Take part in the Survey: you can input in English, French or Spanish.

Visit the CIFOR booth (numbers 1103 & 1202) in the Congress Exhibition for more information about T20Q and Evidence-Based Forestry.

We look forward to hearing your stimulating questions!

Have a wonderful conference!

Gillian Petrokofsky, University of Oxford Research Fellow & CIFOR Senior Research Associate
Gabriel Hemery, CEO, Sylva Foundation
Peter Holmgren, DG, CIFOR

This article appeared first in the IUFRO blog

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Help define the top 20 questions for forestry and landscapes

posted on September 11, 2014

t20Q the story so far

The T20Q project offers an opportunity for everyone involved in forestry, agriculture and landscapes to identify the priority areas for future, high-quality research – and, ultimately, for policy.

Already we’ve received nearly 2000 questions, but the more questions we receive the better: we will have a richer mix of voices, a broader perspective on people’s priorities, and more robust evidence in the future.

Completing the survey will take just 15 minutes of your time:


t20q the story so far

visit to find out more

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Free access to research paper about T10Q project

posted on February 4, 2014

We are pleased to provide free access (for a limited period) to the following research paper:

Petrokofsky, G., Brown, N.D., Hemery, G.E., 2012. Matching a scientific knowledge base with stakeholders’ needs: The T10Q project as a case study for forestry. Forest Policy and Economics 37, 29–36.

The journal, Forest Policy and Economics, has provided a unique link on Science Direct that provides free access to the article, which is valid until 26th March, 2014. No sign up or registration is needed – just click and read!

Read the article


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