One of the biggest pieces of scientific research ever undertaken in the English uplands will tackle the impacts of extreme weather.
New pioneering research will for the first time monitor how the creation of England’s biggest new native woodland could help stave off the worst effects of climate change, such as flooding.
Earlier this year, the Woodland Trust started work at Snaizeholme near Hawes, not only creating one of the largest contiguous new native woodlands in England, but also signalling the start of complex yet vital scientific research.
Over the course of the next 20 years or more, a team of world-leading scientists from the University of York and the University of Leeds will brave the site’s harsh weather conditions – which include 200cm of rainfall a year, making it the wettest place in Yorkshire - to collect detailed data. This will measure rainfall, soil properties and streamflow and track changes over time. This will help the scientists to understand, among many other things, how the flood mitigation benefits of new woodlands develop as the trees grow.
Already on site, scientists are using specialist equipment such as soil moisture and temperature sensors, weather stations and state of the art “lightning detectors” to measure extreme weather events.
The results of this research have the potential to directly help us adapt to the impacts of climate change by increasing our understanding of how trees can reduce flooding risk, capture and store carbon, and provide vital habitat for nature recovery across UK uplands.
Dr. John Crawford, Conservation Evidence Officer for the Woodland Trust, said: “We know mature woodlands deliver a range of important benefits: they provide a home for nature, lock away carbon to fight climate change, and slow the flow of water helping to reduce downstream flooding. Less is known about new woodlands. Working together with world-leading researchers will allow us to take detailed measurements of how biodiversity and ecosystem functions change as the trees grow and the woodlands mature. The research has the power to be a game changer when it comes to how such a new site can combat the extreme effects of climate change. ”
Posted On: 17/11/2023