The Thames Chase Forest Redevelopment Project deployed natural capital modelling to select a restoration pathway out of three possible scenarios for a recently acquired brownfield site.
The aim of this project was to explore whether traditional practice was the best possible land management, or if alternative options would yield greater benefits. In creating the models land managers found the greatest challenges to be understanding how data needed to be input to the models, with some original datasets needing to be reviewed and expanded in order to become fit for purpose. The models themselves were managed by ACOM with some input from Yorkshire Water.
The outputs of the project cover a 20-hectare area with a 75-year time frame and find that varying species mixes are predicted to produce significantly different costs and benefits for services such as air quality and carbon capture. The plan moving forward is, after some final model tuning, to present these results to decision makers, in this case the district manager, so as to guide the future of the site.
Looking back on the project land managers believe that the process was beneficial, allowing the exploration of options that would not have been achievable otherwise. In the context of a changing climate leading to the growing importance of ecological resilience and well-thought-through land management they find that they would definitely reapplying these methods moving forward.
This assessment was carried out by the Forest Commission, but does not feed in to their national account.
Forest Enterprise England, AECOM, Yorkshire Water
Which ecosystem services were focused on?:
- Drinking water
- Trees, standing vegetation, peat
- Water supply
- Wild species
- Carbon sequestration & storage
- Climate regulation
- Detoxification and purification in air, soils and water
- Flood control
Either farmland or waste sites