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National Forest Inventory

Accurate, up-to-date information about the size, distribution, composition and condition of our forests and woodlands is essential for developing and monitoring policies and guidance to support their sustainable management. To gather this information and keep it up to date, we carry out periodic surveys of forests and woodlands across Great Britain.

The current National Forest Inventory – which began in 2009 and will be completed in 2015 – will provide a record of key information about our forests and woodlands. This information is useful to many people and organisations involved in forestry and land management, as well as in the wider world of planning, policy development and business. For example, it will give organisations a baseline of information against which to measure changes – such as those that might be caused by changes in our climate.

Users of inventory data include the forestry and timber industries, organisations concerned with nature conservation, ecology and biodiversity, those working to protect our forests and woodlands from pests and diseases, government and non-government agencies formulating forestry policies, public and private investors in the countryside, and anyone interested in finding out more about Britain’s forests and woodlands.

The Forestry Commission has carried out woodland surveys and compiled forest inventories at 10–15 year intervals since 1924. Because forests and woodlands are dynamic and can change a great deal over the years, it is important that information is kept up to date with regular new surveys. The last national inventory (known as the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees) was carried out between 1995–99 and results are available as a series of Inventory Reports covering England, Scotland and Wales.

National Forest Inventory outputs have been released for GB, England, Scotland and Wales.