Information for land owners

If you own or manage a woodland you may find the following questions and answers useful.

How do I know whether my woodland will be surveyed?
We will contact woodland owners or managers beforehand in writing to make arrangements for a visit.

What if the timing is unsuitable?
If this is the case, the owner or manager should let us know when they receive our letter and we will do our best to reschedule the visit to a mutually convenient time.

What does the National Forest Inventory survey entail?
Each 1 hectare survey will typically be conducted by one surveyor within half a day. The surveyor will gather a variety of data and information from the woodland. This will include recording the tree and plant species growing in the woodland, their numbers, heights and density. The surveyor will also note the area and general condition of the woodland and the age and health of the trees.

Will the survey cause any damage to land, property or woodland?
No. Survey visits cause no damage to land or property. The only visible sign that the surveyors were ever there might be a small, discreet peg placed in the ground to provide a reference point for a possible return visit in five years. We will consult woodland owners or managers to seek permission to leave pegs.

Surveyors will return to a random sub-set of plots five years after the first visit to record any changes that have taken place.

Do the surveyors need any help from the woodland owners?
Most survey visits will be carried out without input from owners or managers. However, where woodlands are some distance from a pubic highway we might ask owners or managers for permission to take a vehicle on to the land to reduce time and costs. So we might need to ask them to unlock gates for us, or provide us with keys so that we can unlock them ourselves. All gates will be left the way they were found, and keys returned.

If my woodland is surveyed, will specific details about it be published in the National Forest Inventory reports?
No. The information about your woodland will be treated in strict confidence, and no specific information about individual woods will be published. The data will not be passed on to other government departments or other organisations. Any information gathered about your woodland will only be used to contribute to a summary about the woodland in your region, country or Great Britain as a whole.

Can information about a woodland be used against the owner?No. The information will not be used to police or regulate any woodland activity. The survey is solely intended to take a ‘snapshot’ of the state of Britain's woodland at a moment in time.

Can an owner or manager refuse to give the surveyors access to their woodland?
Although we do have powers under the Forestry Act to enter private land without the consent of the owner, we would rather not use them – preferring to make the visits in a spirit of friendly co-operation. If any owner or manager has a particularly strong objection to our surveyors visiting, we might be able to explore the possibility of visiting another site. However, to ensure that the survey is statistically valid we prefer to visit our first-choice woodlands if we possibly can.

What happens if the person who receives the letter no longer owns or manages the woodland in question?
The letter will explain what to do if this is the case. Former owners, managers or agents will be asked, if they can, to tell us the name and contact details of the new owner, manager or agent. Otherwise they should tell us that they do not know who owns or manages it now, and we will try to find the new owner or manager by other means.