Contingency plans have the potential to increase adaptive capacity by enabling more rapid and efficient response to climate change risk events. As such, contingency plans provide economic benefits to forestry businesses, minimise the disruption to the natural environment, and support Scotland’s forests in continuing to deliver the widest range of ecosystem services.

This paper considers when contingency plans are necessary, and explores which climate risks to the forest sector in Scotland may benefit from national or regional contingency plans.

Contingency plans already exist across the forestry sector in Scotland, containing pre-agreed processes to be followed in response to a particular risk event, e.g. tree health and windblow contingency plans. However, we recommend that contingency planning should be part of the forest sector at all scales, from national and regional policy and planning to local application by forest managers. The plans should also cover wildfire, drought and flooding, and include projected impacts on infrastructure and forest businesses, and on important conservation habitats.