Why is the survey being done?
Protecting and expanding native woodlands is important for Scotland - for nature conservation and heritage, and for sound economic reasons as well.
To improve our understanding of this valuable resource, Forestry Commission Scotland is leading a field-based survey of all of Scotland’s native woodlands to identify their location, extent, type and condition.
Scotland’s native woodlands are special as they support a high proportion of the habitats and species that require the most protection. Fragmentation of native woodlands poses a serious threat to biological richness and the species that depend on them. Intense deer browsing, and invasive species such as rhododendron ponticum, have a very negative impact on native woodlands.
An integrated approach to supporting land management, such as through rural development contracts, can help create appropriate landscape-scale habitat mosaics and networks. In addition, our forests and woods are becoming increasingly significant factors in key industries such as green tourism and recreation provision. There is great potential to utilise the native woodland resource to enjoy these activities, and there is widespread public support for more native woodland in the landscape.
Doesn’t the Forestry Commission already have this information?
No. This will be the most complete survey of its kind, identifying the location and types of all native woodlands in Scotland.
Previous surveys have focussed on regions of Scotland, specific types of woodland, or woodlands at a larger scale, thus excluding some small but important native woodland habitats. Differences in the way that information was collected make it very difficult to compare the results.
Summary reports and accessing information
The collected data will be published as summaries by local authority area, in PDF format. The completed reports and the schedule to 2013 are now available on the NWSS reports page.
The data from which the reports have been produced is available free of charge from the Forestry Commission's data download site.
The next reports will be available in Spring 2012 and batches of report will then be released at roughly six month intervals after that.
The data from which these reports have been drawn is held in a geospatial dataset based on electronic maps. These data are now available on the Forestry Commission Scotland map viewer.
Who is doing the survey?
Forestry Commission Scotland is undertaking the survey and will be using surveyors employed by Forest Research and consultancy firm RPS to do this.
What impact will this have on my land?
None. The surveyors will collect this information simply by walking around and through the woodlands. They will not disturb the ground and they will leave no signs of their presence in the woodlands.
Good biosecurity helps prevent outbreaks and/or the spread of animal and plant diseases on farms and within woodlands. NWSS surveyors follow the biosecurity control protocol issued by the Scottish Government for Scotland’s Environmental and Rural Services (SEARS) staff, which includes the use of a proprietary disinfectant spray in appropriate circumstances.
How will the information be used?
The Forestry Commission and other public bodies will use the information gained from this exercise to inform the development of policies and incentives for owners to help manage these woodlands in the future.
Where can I find out more about the survey?
If you have any queries about the project, please contact the NWSS survey team at email@example.com or call 0131 334 0303 and ask to speak to the team.
Royal Scottish Forestry Society articles on NWSS
Reproduced from Scottish Forestry, the journal of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, with their kind permission.