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Statistics on UK woodlands, forests and climate change, environment and recreation. Provisional woodland figures are published in June and final figures for all topics in September (in Forestry Statistics and Forestry Facts and Figures).

Publications

Forestry Facts and Figures
Department: Forestry Commission
Summary statistics on woodland area, planting, timber, trade, environment, recreation, employment and finance for the UK.
Forestry Statistics
Department: Forestry Commission
Detailed statistics on woodland area, planting, timber, trade, environment, recreation, employment, finance and prices for the UK.
Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting for Forestry
Department: Forestry Commission
UK data on environmental and economic accounting for forestry, for international reporting (Eurostat)
Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire: Final
Department: Forestry Commission
Final UK data on wood production and trade for international organisations (Eurostat, UNECE and FAO)
Nursery Survey
Department: Forestry Commission
Annual estimates of sales of improved stock by forest nurseries in Great Britain
Public Opinion of Forestry, Northern Ireland
Department: Forestry Commission
Results from a public opinion survey of adults in Northern Ireland on a range of forestry issues.
Public Opinion of Forestry, Scotland
Department: Forestry Commission
Results from a public opinion survey of adults in Scotland on a range of forestry issues.
Public Opinion of Forestry, UK and England
Department: Forestry Commission
Results from a public opinion survey of adults in the UK on a range of forestry issues.
Public Opinion of Forestry, Wales
Department: Forestry Commission
Results from a public opinion survey of adults in Wales on a range of forestry issues.
Scottish Forestry Strategy Indicators
Department: Forestry Commission
Annual indicators for the Scottish Forestry Strategy
The Area of UK Crops Grown for Bioenergy
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
This is an experimental statistical notice with estimates of the area of UK crops which have been grown for bioenergy. It covers wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet, short rotation coppice, miscanthus and straw. It makes use and brings together a range of existing data collected by Defra, Dft and DECC.
Woodland Carbon Code Statistics
Department: Forestry Commission
Quarterly statistics of projects registered under the Woodland Carbon Code in the UK.
Woodland areas, planting and restocking
Department: Forestry Commission
Provisional UK statistics on areas of woodland, certified woodland, new planting and restocking.
Woodlands for Wales Indicators
Department: Forestry Commission
Progress indicators for Woodlands for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government's strategy for woodlands and trees
Woodlands for Wales Indicators
Department: Welsh Government
The publication covers the 23 indicators which aim to monitor progress towards achieving the 20 high level outcomes described in Woodlands for Wales.

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Overview

This topic covers the following areas:

Woodland:

  • Woodland area

  • Certified woodland area

  • National Inventory of Woodland & Trees

  • New planting and restocking

UK forests and climate change:

  • Carbon cycle

  • Forest carbon stock

  • Carbon sequestration

  • Public opinion

Environment:

  • Protected forest areas

  • Woodland birds

  • Woodland vegetation

Recreation:

  • Visits to woodland – household surveys

  • On-site visitor surveys

  • Forestry Commission facilities

  • Public access

Finance and prices:

  • Financial returns

  • Government expenditure

  • Grant schemes

International forestry:

  • Forest cover

  • Carbon stocks

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Technical Data

Full information on the statistics produced on forests and woodlands is available in the Sources section of Forestry Statistics.

Woodland area

Data on woodland area in the UK for 2011 (and revised figures for 2010) are derived from the following sources:

  • Forestry Commission (FC) administrative records of FC land areas (Great Britain);

  • Forest Service (FS) administrative records of FS woodland areas (Northern Ireland);

  • National Forest Inventory (NFI) woodland map for 2010 (Great Britain);

  • Statistics on new planting in Great Britain and

  • Forest Service estimates on non-FS woodland area in Northern Ireland.

For earlier years (including original 2010 figures), data on woodland area in the UK were derived from the following sources:

  • Forestry Commission (FC) and Forest Service (FS) administrative records of FC/ FS woodland areas;

  • National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (Great Britain);

  • Statistics on new planting of non-FC woodlands in Great Britain;

  • Forestry Commission administrative records of disposals of woodland in Great Britain and

  • Forest Service estimates on non-FS woodland area in Northern Ireland.

For certified woodland area, data are collected annually from the Forest Stewardship Council and follow-up enquiries with certificate holders.

Woodland inventories

Woodland inventories have taken place in Great Britain every 15 years or so. Most inventories however, used slightly different definitions of woodland, so some apparent changes in area over time are due to changing definitions. 

New planting and restocking

New planting is the creation of new areas of woodland. Restocking is the replanting of areas of woodland that have been felled. New planting can use planting/seeding or natural colonisation. Restocking can also use planting/seeding or natural regeneration.

Information about FC and FS new planting and restocking comes from administrative systems. Information about other woodland has come principally from the Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) and the successor grant schemes introduced in England, Wales and Scotland. Local estimates for areas of planting and restocking, which are not FC and which are not grant-aided, are included for England, Wales and Scotland.

Forest carbon stock

Figures are derived from a variety of sources, including models based on the 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (growing stock and deadwood), data for the Forestry Commission estate (growing stock) and from data produced by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (litter and soil carbon).

Carbon sequestration

The information is taken from inventory and projections of UK emissions by sources and removal by sinks due to land use, land use change and forestry, contributing to UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Ancient and semi-natural woodland and protected areas

The information has been reproduced from Protected Forest Areas in the UK (S Pryor & G Peterken, 2001) (not National Statistics). It has been derived from a variety of sources, and is unlikely to give a wholly accurate inventory of protected areas in the UK.

Populations of wild birds

Population indices for wild birds are a framework indicator for sustainable development. The data are rescaled to give year 2000 = 100 instead of year 1970 = 100. Further data and analysis about populations of wild birds are in Defra's Wild Birds Populations statistics release. The index for woodland specialists was recalculated in 2007 to include four additional species; this affected the indices for total woodland birds and (to a lesser extent) all birds.

Woodland vegetation

The overall condition and richness of flora in woodland, is derived from data collected by the Countryside Survey 2007 (not National Statistics) and previous surveys in 1998 and 1990.

Recreation

There are two main approaches to visitor monitoring:

  • general population surveys of individuals at their home, and

  • surveying and counting of visitors to a specific area or woodland

Government expenditure

Information about government expenditure on forestry is obtained from administrative records held by the Forestry Commission. Data are published annually in the Annual Report & Accounts produced by National Offices.  Data on grant expenditure are obtained from the administrative records for woodland grant schemes across GB.

International forestry

International data on forest area and carbon stocks are obtained from the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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Glossary

  • Broadleaves

    Trees that do not have needles or cones (a few, such as alder, have cone-like structures for their seeds that are not true cones).

  • Conifers

    Trees with needles and cones.

  • Coppice

    Trees that are cut near ground level (or sometimes higher, in which case they are pollards), causing them to produce many small shoots. These shoots are harvested every few years at a relatively early age for products such as staves, fencing, fuel and charcoal. 'Coppice with standards' includes scattered trees that are left to grow as normal ('standards'). 

  • Deadwood

    Non-living woody biomass not contained in litter, either standing or lying on the ground.  For wood carbon reporting, the minimum was 15 cm diameter for standing and lying deadwood, and 7 cm dbh (diameter at breast height) for fallen trees.

  • Establishment

    The first five to ten years or formative period that ends once young trees are of sufficient size that, given adequate protection, they are likely to survive at the required stocking.

  • FAO

    United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, responsible for the Forest Resources Assessment and for compiling international statistics on production and trade of wood products.

  • FC

    Forestry Commission: the government department responsible for forestry matters in Great Britain. The responsibility for forestry is devolved to ministers in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, but the executive functions are exercised throughout Great Britain by the FC.

  • Forest

    In the UK, there is no formal definition of 'forest'; the term is often used for large areas (especially conifers) or for old Royal hunting preserves such as the New Forest or the Forest of Dean. 

  • FS

    Northern Ireland Forest Service (an agency of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development).

  • FSC

    Forest Stewardship Council. 

  • Ha

    Hectare (2.471 acres).

  • Hardwood

    The wood of broadleaved trees, a term sometimes used for the broadleaved trees themselves.

  • High forest

    Trees capable of growing to be suitable for timber production (compare with coppice). 

  • Litter

    Non-living biomass with a diameter less than the minimum for deadwood, lying dead in various states of decomposition above the soil.

  • Native species

    Species that have arrived and inhabited an area naturally, without deliberate assistance by man. For trees and shrubs in the UK usually taken to mean those present after post-glacial recolonisation and before historic times. Some species are only native in particular regions - hence locally native.

  • Natural colonisation

    Creation of new woodland by natural means, that is without sowing or planting.

  • Natural regeneration

    Establishing woodland on ground that was not woodland in the recent past.

  • New planting

    Establishing woodland on ground that was not woodland in the recent past.

  • NIWT

    National Inventory of Woodland and Trees.

  • Restocking

    The replanting of an area after trees are removed.

  • Scrub

    Area of poorly formed trees or bushes unsuitable for conversion to timber. 

  • Semi-natural

    Woodland with natural characteristics (predominantly native species of trees, ground plants and animals) where wood production is not a primary objective; this term is used rather than natural because the woodland may have originally been planted or have been managed for wood production in the past.

  • Silviculture

    The care and cultivation of forest trees.

  • Softwood

    The wood of coniferous trees or conifers themselves.

  • SRC

    Short rotation coppice (either willow or poplar).

  • UN ECE

    United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, responsible for compiling international statistics on production and trade of wood products for Europe, the Russian Federation and North America. 

  • Woodland

    Land under stands of trees with a canopy cover of at least 20 per cent (25 per cent in Northern Ireland), or having the potential to achieve this, including integral open space, and including felled areas that are awaiting restocking. 

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Sheila Ward

Email: statistics@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1313 146171

Economics & Statistics Forestry Commission Silvan House 231 Corstorphine Road Edinburgh EH12 7AT

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