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Supplying trees in an era of environmental uncertainty: identifying challenges faced by the forest nursery sector in Great Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Richard Ennos
  • Richard Whittet
  • Joan Cottrell
  • Stephen Cavers
  • Mireia Pecurul

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Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date16 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016


In recent years, numerous articles have addressed management strategies aimed at assisting forests to adapt to climate change. However, these seldom take into account the practical and economic implications of implementing these strategies, notably, supply of forest plants and seed. Using semi-structured interviews with practitioners involved in the plant and seed supply chain in Great Britain, we highlight a series of practical and economic bottlenecks commonly encountered in the supply of locally sourced seed and domestically produced planting stock for native woodland and hedging markets. We find that adoption of alternative seed sourcing strategies, designed specifically to account for directional climate warming, is likely to exacerbate existing problems by adding further complexity to decisions nurseries make about tree species and seed origins to produce. The lack of long-term market predictability brought about by the current configuration of forestry grants and regulations and, in particular, the administrative systems for processing grant applications is identified as a major impediment to having a sustainable and competitive supply of home-grown and currently adapted planting stock. Finally, the time and effort it takes to supply healthy plants for native woodland creation projects deserves much wider recognition throughout the industry and will be crucial if planting objectives are to be met sustainably.

    Research areas

  • forest nursery, climate change, stakeholder survey, Great Britain, biosecurity, seed sourcing

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