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Scenario-led modelling of broadleaf forest expansion in Wales

Manzoor, S. A., Griffiths, G., Latham, J. and Lukac, M. (2019) Scenario-led modelling of broadleaf forest expansion in Wales. Royal Society Open Science, 6 (5). 190026. ISSN 2054-5703

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsos.190026


Context Significant changes in the composition and extent of the UK forest cover are likely to take place in the coming decades. Current policy targets an increase in forest area, for example the Welsh Government aims for forest expansion by 2030, and a purposeful shift from non-native conifers to broadleaved tree species, as identified by the UK Forestry Standard Guidelines on Biodiversity. Objectives Using the example of Wales, we aim to generate evidence-based projection of impact of contrasting policy scenarios on the state of forests in the near future, with the view of stimulating debate and aiding decisions concerning plausible outcomes of different policies. Methods We quantified changes in different land use and land cover (LULC) classes in Wales between 2007 and 2015 and used a Multi-layer perceptron-Markov chain ensemble modelling approach to project the state of Welsh forests in 2030 under the current and an alternate policy scenario. Results The current level of expansion and restoration of broadleaf forest in Wales is sufficient to deliver on existing policy goals. We also show effects of a more ambitious afforestation policy on the Welsh landscape. In a key finding, the highest intensity of broadleaf expansion is likely to shift from south-eastern to a more central areas of Wales. Conclusion The study identifies the key predictors of LULC change in Wales. High resolution future land cover simulation maps using these predictors offers an evidence-based tool for forest managers and government officials to test effects of existing and alternative policy scenarios.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:83383
Publisher:The Royal Society


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