Climatic change and associated global changes are of major interest to foresters, both in terms of forest ecology and of future forest production. Predicting the likely effects of global change on forests is extremely difficult due to the critical lack of information on regional changes in meteorological factors relevant to forests. However, existing models of forest production and forest distribution fail to take adequate account of what is already known. Climate and carbon dioxide concentrations have shown substantial changes over the last 100 years. Although the rate of change is likely to increase, recent proposed and implemented control strategies, together with better climatic models, are tending to suggest that the rate of change will be less than initially thought. This means that past changes may provide an increasingly useful source of information. In particular, information on the impact on forests of both long-term climate change and short-term climatic events is rapidly increasing. Such information should be built into future forest response models.