Climate Match (UK)

At two sites plots have been planted, one in Derbyshire (central England) and the other in Kent (south-east England) in 2011. They serve as research-demonstration plots to test how various planting mixtures might contribute to improved resilience of native forests to climate change. Forest Research (UK) has matched the warmer, drier climate predicted for Derbyshire and Kent in 2050 with the present climate in northern France and the predicted climate for 2080 with that in northern Italy. Different ratios of local and non-local provenances are tested. The experiment will be monitored to identify the best mix of tree planting stock of each species for Derbyshire/Kent and how provenances from northern France and northern Italy interact with local wildlife, including their resilience to tree pests and diseases.

Prunus avium plot 2021
Prunus avium monoculture (2021).

The experiment is performed at two sites: Kent and Derbyshire. The only difference in design between the sites is the number of provenances planted: 3 in Kent, 4 in Derbyshire (the most northern plantation). Each site contains 3 blocks, i.e., replicates of the experiment setup. A block consists of 3 types of treatment plots: single-species single-provenance, single-species mixed-provenances, mixed-species mixed-provenances. In each block, the single-species plots occur as a series of randomly positioned plots (12 m x 12 m), in which 36 trees are planted. The single-species mixed-provenances plots consist of 2 provenances (50:50 or 75:25 mix, with the local provenance having the greatest proportion) or 3 provenances (33:33:33 mix). There is 1 mixed-species mixed-provenance plot (36 m x 32 m, 288 trees) in each block. The planting was done with 3 year old saplings, at a 2 m x 2 m planting distance.

plots of the three experimental set-ups blocks (replications)
set-up A (1-11), B (12-27), C (28)

Site characteristics

site Derbyshire Kent
local name Hartshorne Hucking Estate
former land use arable ungrazed pasture (grass and ragwort)
altitude 143 m 170 m
soil type similar ratios of clay, silt and sand plateau drift clay with flint, underlying geology of chalk
area A 0.61 ha, B 0.69 ha, C 0.35 ha A 0.48 ha, B 0.69 ha, C 0.35 ha
no of plots A 42 plots, B 48 plots, C 3 plots A 33 plots, B 48 plots, C 3 plots
plot size 12 m x 12 m and 36 m x 32 m 12 m x 12 m and 36 m x 32 m
no of trees planted A 1512 trees, B 1728 trees, C 846 trees A 1188 trees, B 1728 trees, C 846 trees
planting date February 2011 March 2011
diversity variables species richness
genetic diversity
species richness
genetic diversity
diversity gradient 1, 4 sp.
1, 2, 3 provenances (local, Southern England, France, Italy)
1, 4 sp.
1, 2, 3 provenances (local, France, Italy)
size species pool 4 4
species pool Fraxinus excelsior
Prunus avium
Quercus robur
Castanea sativa
Fraxinus excelsior
Prunus avium
Quercus robur
Castanea sativa
contact person Nadia Barsoum Nadia Barsoum

Research questions that will be addressed include: (1) Which planting stock of oak, ash, wild cherry and sweet chestnut is recommended for woodland establishment in the Midlands and southeastern Britain in the face of climate change? (2) What is the recommended planting ratio of local and non-local provenances of these tree species to achieve maximum survival and growth rates? (3) How does mixing local and non-local provenances affect stand structure and provenance performance? (4) How do non-native provenances affect associated biodiversity and the incidence of pests and diseases?
The following specific assessments of saplings are being done or planned: survival (post-frost, post-drought), growth (height, dbh), form (leaf area, branching patterns), phenology (e.g., bud-burst), and associated biodiversity (e.g., incidence of insect herbivory). When a canopy starts to develop, litter traps will be installed to provide information on the comparative biomass of flowers, leaves, and fruits. Local variations in temperature are currently being monitored at the soil surface.

Extra information
Send an e-mail to the contact person, visit her web page, or explore the publications:

  • Kwon T, Shibata H, Kepfer-Rojas S, Schmidt IK, Larsen KS, Beier C, Berg B, Verheyen K, Lamarque J-F, Hagedorn F, Eisenhauer N, Djukic I, TeaCompositionNetwork (2021) Effects of climate and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on early to mid-term stage litter decomposition across biomes. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4: 678480 -
  • Messier C, Bauhus J, Sousa-Silva R, Auge H, Baeten L, Barsoum N, Bruelheide H, Caldwell B, Cavender-Bares J, Dhiedt E, Eisenhauer N, Ganade G, Gravel D, Guillemot J, Hall JS, Hector A, Hérault B, Jactel H, Koricheva J, Kreft H, Mereu S, Muys B, Nock CA, Paquette A, Parker JD, Perring MP, Ponette Q, Potvin C, Reich PB, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Schnabel F, Verheyen K, Weih M, Wollni M, Zemp DC (2021) For the sake of resilience and multifunctionality, let's diversify planted forests! Conservation Letters e12829 -
  • Field E, Schönrogge K, Barsoum N, Hector A & Gibbs M (2019) Individual tree traits shape insect and disease damage on oak in a climate-matching tree diversity experiment. Ecology and Evolution 9: 15 - doi:
  • Barsoum N (2015) Mixed provenance and mixed species trials aimed at informing the debate on how to prepare native tree species for climate change in England. Quarterly Journal of Forestry 109: 201-207

The Derbyshire site was established in partnership with the National Forest Company and the Forestry Commission. The Kent site is jointly sponsored by the Forestry Commission and the European Union within the framework of two Interreg projects: the Management of Multifunctional Forests project (MULTIFOR) and the Forest Management Adaptation project (ADAFOR). MULTIFOR (2009-2013) was funded under the European Interreg IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-Border Cooperation Programme; ADAFOR (2013-2015) was selected under the European cross-border cooperation programme INTERREG IV A France (Channel) - England, co-funded by the ERDF. Land for planting the Kent site was provided by the Woodland Trust.

The Kent experiment is jointly sponsored by the Forestry Commission and the European Union within the framework of the European Interreg IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-Border Cooperation Programme under the project MultiFor.

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