May 2016

A new resource for evaluation of the threat of natural disturbances to forests

The current wildfire in the Fort McMurray Area in Alberta, Canada, now covering some 230,000 hectares, is a sad reminder that from time to time forests can be affected by devastating forces. Assessment of the risk of unpredictable and unexpected agencies such as wildfire, drought, wind or pests and diseases is inevitably complex and challenging – inadequate data and scientific uncertainty also conspire to hinder the importance that the sector sometimes places on this important task.

A new website, ‘Forest Risks’, has just been launched to help. It has been developed and is hosted by Edinburgh University, with funding provided by the Natural Environment Research Council. It presents research selected as of potential application for those involved in forest risk assessment / management, including insurance organisations, forest owners / managers, investors, and those involved in regulating forest carbon standards. In addition, it provides profiles of eighteen researchers actively involved in the assessment of forest risks. Andy Moffat is pleased to be nominated as one of these, in respect of his work on forest fire risk in Britain.