Project BIOFORCE (BIOmass FORestry CrEation): Creating geospatial data systems to upscale national forestry-based biomass production

Led by Verna, Forest Research, and Cranfield University

Project BIOFORCE will create and demonstrate new, upgraded versions of Forest Research’s industry-standard Ecological Site Classification (ESC) tool, and Verna’s successful ForestFounder system.

The new geospatial tools, ESC5 and ForestFounder2, will enable landowners, investors, and policymakers to assess sites throughout GB for forestry suitability, taking into account biophysical conditions, economic factors, local impacts, and regulations. The tools will cover Long Rotation and Short Rotation Forestry (including with fast-growing species such as eucalyptus and paulownia), Short Rotation Coppice, and agroforestry. They will use improved climate modelling, to better assess species’ suitability under future climate change.

Creating and deploying ESC5 and ForestFounder2 is projected to increase UK annual biomass harvest by identifying suitable sites which would not otherwise be planted, and enabling higher-yielding, more climate-change-resilient choices of species and (agro) forestry systems.

The project involves pre-commercial demonstration partnerships with a number of public and private sector organisations, including the National Trust, HS2, the Ministry of Justice, the Country Land and Business Association, and the Farr Estate, which will involve assessment of over 100,000 hectares.

This project involves expanding the national evidence base in important ways, for example Forest Research gathering field data on growth/yield of target species, Cranfield University extending yield and economic models of agroforestry, and Verna Earth Solutions producing social/market research on attitudes towards agroforestry options.

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