The Forestry Commission has published details of the seven research programmes which will implement the current Science & Innovation in Forestry Strategy for Great Britain over the next four years.
The strategy and its constituent research programmes are designed to meet the priority needs of the British forestry sector for robust, science-based advice. Roger Coppock, Head of Analysts at the Commission, explained,
"A key need across the sector is for robust and timely evidence to inform policy and forest management practice to ensure sustainability and resilience in our woods and forests in the face of developing threats, especially climate change and emerging pests and diseases.
"These research programmes have been developed in close consultation with the forestry community to fulfil that need as well as other current priorities.
"They differ significantly from previous research programmes in that they are highly interdisciplinary, with a strong applied focus on both physical and social sciences. This will support and encourage uptake and impact."
The programme titles are:
* assessing resilience and sustainability of woodlands and forests;
* understanding biotic threats to resilience;
* delivering resilient forests;
* valuing ecosystem services; forest governance; and influencing behaviour;
* tree breeding and developing sustainable markets, forest products and services;
* forest resource assessment, greenhouse gas balance and modelling; and
* integrating research for policy and practice to deliver resilient forests.
Mr Coppock added that because the programmes have been published before details of the UK Government's spending review could be known, some changes might be needed to some of the research which can be undertaken, and to its timing.
"The spending review, and our need to play our part in it, might change the resources available to the programmes," he said. "The science strategy addressed this possibility by providing flexibility and a framework for prioritisation to accommodate funding variability. We therefore ask for the sector's understanding as we work through this process."
Full details of the programmes and the Science and Innovation Strategy for Forestry in Great Britain are available at www.forestry.gov.uk/research.