Native Woodland Survey of Scotland wins Innovation Award

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Forestry Commission Scotland’s eight year project to survey all of Scotland’s native woodlands has won first prize in the Innovation category at this year’s RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards.

The prize is given to projects that aid nature conservation and stand out as being different, either being the first of their kind or a new approach to existing practice.

Derek Nelson, who accepted the award on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland, said;

“It took a large team of field surveyors and data analysts nearly eight years to complete this work. I’d like to thank them all for making this project the success it has become.

“The survey benefits everyone in Scotland. It gives us a huge amount of information to help land managers to make more informed decisions about how they manage our valuable native and near-native woodlands.

“We’re obviously delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the judging panel and we hope that this award will encourage more people to use the survey data.”

The Native Woodland Survey of Scotland is unique in terms of its depth, scope and focus and is thought to be the most comprehensive habitat survey ever carried out in the UK, possibly the first example of its kind in Europe. 

The survey details the location, type, extent, composition and condition of all native and nearly native woodlands and plantations on ancient woodland sites over 0.5ha in size in Scotland.

To support the release of this data a series of short films about native woodland types as well as curricular materials have been developed to inform and educate people interested in learning more about this valuable environmental asset.

The survey data is summarised in national, local and regional reports and is available in an online dataset available on Forestry Commission Scotland’s website and Scotland’s Environment Web.

The data is free-to-access and Forestry Commission Scotland is encouraging everybody who owns or manages native woodlands to consider how to make best use of it.

Notes to News Editors

1.      Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate.

2.      More detail on the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland is available from: and

3.      For news, events and recreation information log on to: or

4.      The FCS agobair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridhcoilltearachdRiaghaltasna h-Alba agus a’ riaghladhnan 660,000 heactaireanann an OighreachdnaCoilleNàiseanta, a’ dìonadh, a’ cumailsmachd air agus a’ leudachadhnancoillteangusbuannachdan a thoirtdhacoimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidhagus, agobair an aghaidhatharrachadhgnàth-shìde.

5.      Media enquiries to Ian Cowe, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0300 067 5308.