View the biodiversity chapter of 'UK Indicators of Sustainable Forestry', as published in October 2002.
Any recent developments, and links to additional information, are shown below.
B1. Ancient woodland
- Estimates of ancient woodland areas, based on ancient woodland inventories mostly compiled in the late 1980s, were published in Pryor & Peterken (2001).
The indicator B1 published in 2002 used results from Pryor & Smith (2002). This was an updated estimate of ancient woodland area derived by overlaying the NIWT 1995-1999 digital map onto ancient woodland inventories. This gave lower figures than those published in Pryor & Peterken (2001). At the time, Pryor & Smith (2002) was thought to give the best estimates of ancient woodland area.
However, further investigation of the discrepancies between NIWT and the ancient woodland inventories suggests that some discrepancies are due to differences in spatial registration of woods, and that some areas of ancient woodland are incorrectly omitted from the totals in Pryor & Smith (2002). In consequence, the estimates from Pryor & Peterken (2001) are now recommended for use, until better information becomes available.
The ancient woodland data set for England is currently being revised by English Nature. Data for Wales were revised for the woodlands for Wales progress report in 2006. For Northern Ireland, a report and website Back on the map were launched in 2006/07.
B2. Native woodland area
Results from the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland have been published February 2014.
Native woodland is being identified in the new National Forest Inventory, for which fieldwork started in 2009.
B3. Native woodland condition
- Statistics for condition of woodland SSSI's are not yet available for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
B4. Abundance of fauna
- The bird index is part of one of the 20 UK Framework Indicators, published in 2005 and updated annually. It is in Forestry Statistics (Table 5.1).
- Wild Bird Indicators for the English Regions 1994-2008 were published in April 2010.
- Results of the Repeat Woodland Bird Survey, looking at long-term trends in birds in woodland habitats, were published in March 2006.
- More information about individual bird species trends can be found on the RSPB website in State of the UK's Birds.
- In 2004 Butterfly Conservation produced a report to the Forestry Commission on The Current Level of Butterfly Monitoring in UK Woodlands and potential use of the data to inform sustainable forestry (Durwyn Liley, Tom Brereton & David Roy, November 2004).
- The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme was launched in 2006.
B5. Richness of flora
The report Biodiversity in Britain's Planted Forests, published in December 2003, presents the results from the Forestry Commission's Biodiversity Assessment Project. This project was established in 1995 with 52 permanent plots in conifer forests to assess many different aspects of biodiversity, including structure, soil, fungi, higher and lower plants and invertebrates.
A study into long-term ecological change in British woodland (1971-2001) reported in 2005 (English Nature Research Report 653).
B6. Diversity of woodland within a stand
- The information available for deadwood has now been extended to include fallen trees - see revised indicator. Note that these sample results should give an unbiased estimate of the average amount of deadwood, but under-estimate the proportion of forest containing some deadwood.
- Pilot work in 2004-05 for the next National Inventory found deadwood in a high proportion of plots.
B7. Natural regeneration of woodland
- Woodland Grant Scheme natural regeneration statistics for England, Scotland and Wales, used in compiling the published indicator, are available here.