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Global warming will influence tree choice, says Defra

by 5m Editor
15 June 2005, at 12:00am

UK - Environment Minister Elliot Morley today urged all those planting or managing trees to take action now to cope with the unavoidable climate change impacts that the UK looks set to face in future decades.

Global warming will influence tree choice, says Defra - UK - Environment Minister Elliot Morley today urged all those planting or managing trees to take action now to cope with the unavoidable climate change impacts that the UK looks set to face in future decades.

Average annual temperatures in the UK may increase by between 2 and 3.5 degrees Celsius by the 2080s with high summer temperatures becoming more frequent and winters milder but wetter.

South East England summers could be as much as five degrees hotter and 50 per cent drier by the 2080s. Forest and woodland managers should look closely at the choice of species for new planting stock, mixed planting for extra resilience against climatic extremes and implement landscape scale planning of woodlands and estates.

Mr Morley said the UK's trees and woodlands provided a huge variety of services, ranging from timber and bio-energy production, enhancing biodiversity and landscape and the provision of amenity and recreation as well as acting as a carbon sink.

"For those working with trees, planning necessarily looks to long timescales, so it is now that we need to devote serious thought to protecting, enhancing and adapting our trees and woodlands for the climate of the future," he said.

Mr Morley added there was already evidence in our parks and gardens that the climate had changed.

"We're able to grow species that our grandparents would never have thought possible - olives, citrus and many more exotic species are increasingly in demand, while traditional cottage garden planting is requiring more care."

The Minister welcomed the Forestry Commission's new information note on climate change and British woodland, which looks at the effects of climate change on tree growth, species distributions and the implications for woodland management.

Speaking at the "Trees in a Changing Climate" conference at the University of Surrey, Mr Morley said that several papers presented at the "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" conference in Exeter in February had already reinforced the serious implications of climate change for ecoystems across the globe.

"There is a distinct possibility that die-back in tropical forests towards the end of this century could become a major source of carbon.

"It is an increasing recognition of the seriousness of the potential impacts that has led the UK Government to bring climate change to the top of the G8 agenda during our Presidency year," he added.

Source: Defra - 15th June 2005

5m Editor