Transnational Accesses

(FR, UK) Spatial modelling of species suitability to sites and climate projections

Technical Information Practicalities TA feedback

Douglas fir provenance zone map of BritainDouglas fir provenance zone map of Great Britain

Type of facility: GIS-based modelling infrastructure

Keywords: GIS, geographic information systems, breeding zones, climatic data, site data, climate matching, species suitability, provenance suitability, connectivity, habitat network, landscape ecology, climate change

Who would find this useful? Researchers, tree breeders, forest ecologists; GIS analysts, those interested in the influence of climate change on species choice.

"I definitely recommend to visit this site for everyone who is interested in climate matching (both historical and possible future) models that are applicable to forestry."

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About the facility: Develop species-provenance suitability models to:

  • provide resources for assessing the potential for collaborative tree-breeding zones in Europe
  • suggest species or provenance material more able to cope with the projected impacts of climate change
  • broaden the species composition of forests to spread risk associated with climate change impacts

The facility is a GIS-based infrastructure providing spatial modelling tools to assess species and provenance suitability with site data (including the future climate). The climate matching tool (being developed in Trees4Future) will demonstrate where the projected future climate of any site currently exists to help understand how forest species, provenance and management might be adapted to cope with projected climate change.

The Forest Research species/site/climate/ infrastructure is a combination of state-of-the-art spatial modeling software augmented with Python scripts developed by highly skilled GIS-analysts operating on desktop computers. The site-species suitability modeling takes digital climatic and edaphic information in order to match species (Broadmeadow, Ray & Samuel, 2005; Ray, Pyatt & Broadmeadow, 2002) and provenance (Fletcher & Samuel, 2010; Samuel, Fletcher & Lines, 2007) in the baseline and future climates. Differences in the way projected climatic variables change with time results in different species distributions or provenance suitability. 

This infrastructure can be used to investigate: 

  • how to change species or provenance to better adapt to climate change (Broadmeadow et al., 2009)
  • assess the impacts of climate change on the tree species portfolio (Moffat et al., 2012)
  • or assess the scope of breeding zones across Europe.

This last option will provide the evidence for suggesting how organizations with similar future climatic conditions could pool resources for a given species or provenance zone leading to more efficient and cost effective collaborative tree breeding for the future.

What does the TA programme offer? The normal period of work will be 10 working days, but the access unit is 1 working day.

Mentored by a forest scientist, and a skilled analyst, the visitor will be introduced to existing systems of climate matching and how this has already been successfully been carried out for provenances of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The visitor will then have the opportunity of participating in work to advance these techniques to other areas of Europe again for Douglas Fir, but also for ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Other species may be considered depending on data available which the visitor may wish to bring such data for their own research taking advantage of the support provided by this facility.

More information

Location: Roslin (near Edinburgh), Scotland

Technical information about the facility

Contact details/practical information

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