UK research into climate and pest resilient woodlands is set to get a boost from a new £16m government funding.
Helping the nation’s trees against the continuous impact of climate change and an increased risk of tree diseases and pests – including ips beetles, Dutch elm disease and ash dieback.
These diseases pose a significant threat to thousands of species of wildlife through the destruction of habitats.
The Forest Research programme will back 30 projects, working with 27 partner organisations, and will also support efforts to increase England’s tree canopy, in line with the government’s environmental targets.
Funding will support projects which include:
Research into the network of soil nutrients and plant roots to see how they help boost woodlands, a better understanding of how tree seeds can fall naturally and plant themselves, and how drought is impacting tree growth.
In addition to the examination of barriers to agroforestry, where trees and agricultural crops grow on the same piece of land.
Forestry commission chair, Sir William Worsley, says: “The Forest Research Trees and Forestry evidence programme will leave a lasting legacy, by providing strong scientific evidence to underpin our future forestry policy and support long term action for expanding and managing our treescapes.”
This announcement comes ahead of environment secretary Steve Barclay setting out plans this week to improve access to green space, including a competition for a new National Forest and the unveiling of two new Community Forests – in Derbyshire and the Tees.