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Posts tagged ‘research’

Environmental change: awareness, actions, aspirations

September 1, 2015

Gabriel Hemery

Environmental change is impacting Britain’s trees and forests with increasing frequency and severity, caused by human influences and/or natural ecological processes.

Somerset owner William Theed replanted with different conifer species when Japanese larch in his woodland was the first in the UK attacked by Phytophthora ramorum. Photo Gabriel Hemery.

An important national survey about environmental change is seeking to explore awareness, actions and aspirations among all those who care for trees. It is open until 15th September and I encourage all those with a deep interest or professional connection with trees and forestry to take part.

If you can spare about 20 minutes you will be guided through a set of questions tailored to your role (namely woodland owner, professional forester or arboriculturist, tree nursery owner etc.). These cover the following broad themes:

  • What do you think about environmental change?
  • Have you been affected by environmental change?
  • What are you doing about making our trees and forests more resilient to environmental change?

Survey co-ordinators the Sylva Foundation report that over 1000 responses have been received to date (see Twitter), which is impressive, but more responses will mean more powerful science and better informed policies. This is an opportunity for many new voices to be heard on a very important subject.

Please take the survey

More about the British Woodlands Survey 2015

The national survey is aiming is to help understand progress in awareness and actions in adapting to environmental change among woodland owners and managers (including agents), tree nursery businesses, and forestry professionals.

The information gathered will be used by organisations, policy makers and researchers to help improve the resilience of the nation’s forests. The results will inform the government’s National Adaptation Programme.

The British Woodlands Survey 2015 on Resilience is supported by a very wide number of organisations, with funding provided by the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust. It is hosted and co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation.

The survey is live from July 31st to September 15th 2015.

Take the survey:

Our Forests Vision – have your say

May 18, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests

The Independent Panel on Forestry is due to release their final report on July 4th.  Although much anticipated by all those with an interest in the future of England’s trees and forests, it is likely that Government will issue quickly a holding statement and hold back on a fully-considered response for many months afterwards.

Meanwhile, the Vision presented by Our Forests for the future of England’s trees and forests has been well-received right across the sector and by the public at large. The Ginger Group is now keen to hear the views of the public, particularly from the half a million people that objected so strongly to the Government’s original proposals to sell off England’s public forests, in partnership with 38 Degrees.

Recently, 38 Degrees shared a post on their blog about Our Forests, written by ginger group member Jonathon Porritt. He explained why Our Forests are hoping 38 Degrees members would share their views on the Vision. You can read his blog post here.

Our Forests have come up with some questions they’d like to ask 38 Degrees members. You can answer the questions whether or not you’ve read the report. But if you’d like to read it to see more about the vision, you can download a copy here.

The survey won’t take long to fill in, and the researchers looking at the answers won’t see your name and personal details – just the answers that you give.

Take part in the survey

Gabriel Hemery

Future research requirements for forestry in England

February 9, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Download the latest national map of confirmed Chalara outbreak sites

The Independent Panel on Forestry sponsored Forest Research to host a workshop, held on 9 November 2011, to identify the strengths and opportunities of the current research programmes and make recommendations for future research priorities for forestry in England.  The workshop was attended by a range of participants from the research, policy and practitioner communities.  A record of the workshop has been released and a summary is provided here together with a link to the full report.

The strengths and opportunities of the current research programmes.

 A background paper and two presentations gave an overview of the research which supports forestry in England. Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the current research programmes raised the following issues:-

  • Serious concerns over the ongoing declining spend on forestry research during the current Spending Review period (2010/11 to 2014/15).
  • The need for good partnership working and responsiveness in research programmes and between research funders.
  • The extent to which research provision was co-ordinated and that the research community was making a strong enough case for future funding.
  • The need for effective knowledge exchange between the forestry sector and research providers.
  • The need to tackle current pest and pathogen outbreaks; the new Defra and FC Joint Action Plan on Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity was welcomed.

The workshop did not address the organisational arrangements for delivery of forest research in England, but the sector expressed strong support for Forest Research (FR) which is considered to be making a unique and valuable contribution in support of UK forestry.

Future research priorities

Presentations, breakout groups and participant voting were used to identify short to medium and long-term research priorities.   Four overall priorities for research and knowledge exchange emerged as being important now and in the future:

  • Valuation of and payment for ecosystem services and evidence in support of woodland creation for mitigation of climate change.
  • Research on tree pests and diseases, including invasive species (grey squirrels, deer, wild boar, etc).
  • Selection, breeding and silviculture for resilience to climate change and pests and pathogens.
  • Understanding the motivations and needs of woodland owners and of those who might create woodlands.

Thirty specific research questions were identified and of these the five considered to be priorities by the workshop participants were (verbatim):

1.      What do we need to do to improve woodland resilience in the face of pests and pathogens?

2.      How to improve the understanding of the special issues of urban trees (importance of pests, climate, species, liability concerns)?

3.      Selection, breeding and silviculture for resilience to climate change and pests and diseases.

4.      How do you get the complete value of a woodland – all its goods and benefits – into the owners’ pocket?

5.      What are the barriers to land-use change – farm and other land to trees, woods and forests?

The following themes also emerged: the importance of knowledge exchange (dissemination), the need to use existing knowledge and monitoring, the need for information on the quantity and quality of the existing forest resource and importance of access to woodlands.  The value of well-managed woodlands in mitigation of climate change is now widely accepted and this underpins the emphasis on woodland creation, on provenance and species selection and on management for climate resilience.

Future research requirements for forestry in England - workshop report

Future research requirements for forestry in England - workshop report

Read the full report

Basal Areas for common walnut

December 27, 2011

Gabriel Hemery

common walnut basal areas

There are no published Yield Class tables for common walnut Juglans regia – at least that I am aware of. A search on the European Forest Yield Tables Database reveals that data are only available for black walnut Juglans nigra in Hungary.

I wrote previously about research that I undertook exploring the crown sizes of major hardwood species – Estimating tree crown size. This work provides the next best available data on managing a stand of common walnut, in the form of basal areas for common walnut ref.

The table below shows the stem diameter (dbh), crown diameter (cd), crown/stem ratio (cd/dbh), number of trees per hectare (Nha) and acre (Nac), and Basal Areas (G) in m2 per hectare. These data were collected from trees grown in open conditions, and calculated for stand densities with zero crown overlap.




N trees per ha

N trees per acre

Basal Area m2 per ha















































































common walnut basal areas

Common walnut Juglans regia basal areas with dbh.

A growth rate of 1cm per year in stem diameter can be presumed, permitting this graph and data to be used in estimating suitable basal areas at different stand ages. If real dbh data is available, then the accurate growth rates will provide accurate basal area increase projections for a given site.

Gabriel Hemery


Hemery, G.E., Savill, P. & Pryor, S.N. (2005). Applications of the crown diameter – stem diameter relationship for different species of broadleaved trees. Forest Ecology and Management 215, 285-294. View abstract

Survey on public attitudes to Trees and Wood

November 28, 2011

Gabriel Hemery

Poll at

I am conducting a survey on public attitudes to Forestry, specifically Trees and Wood. The results will be published publicly when analyses are complete; possibly as a research article.

To produce a meaningful result I need as many respondents as possible. I encourage you to take part; it will take less than five minutes of your time. It is open to anyone … anywhere.

Please also forward this post, or if you prefer the link below, to your friends:

To take part in the survey click the link below. You will be directed to a survey page hosted by Survey Monkey:

Click here to take part in the Trees & Wood survey

Thank you

Gabriel Hemery

Ride for Research thanked by scientists

August 12, 2011

Gabriel Hemery

The £5,500 raised by 22 cyclists earlier this year in aid of funding research into Acute Oak Decline is being put to good use by scientists at Forest Research.  Organiser Russell Ball has received a letter from Forest Research’s Chief Executive:

I am writing to acknowledge receipt and thank you for the very generous cheque, we have just received from the International Society for Arboriculture following the ‘Cycle Ride for Research’ fundraising event to support the work undertaken by our team on research into Acute Oak Decline.  The money will go towards purchasing laboratory equipment that will facilitate our work and is very much appreciated.

James Pendlebury,
Chief Executive, Forest Research

My thanks to all those who sponsored my part in the 32 mile ride through central London.

Read more about Ride for Research

Gabriel Hemery

pdfDownload the full letter from Forest Research (click on the pdf icon)

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