Forestry Statistics 2008 - Environment

Ancient and semi-natural woodland

previous | next  


Ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW) tends to be richer in plants and animals than other woodland areas. The area of ASNW has declined over the centuries and woodlands have become increasingly fragmented. In a 2001 report it was estimated to total 326 thousand hectares, of which almost two-thirds was in England. Later estimates, produced by overlaying the Ancient Woodland Inventory on the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees, give lower figures, but are not considered reliable.

Table 4.1 Ancient and semi-natural woodland

Woodland type

England

Scotland

   Wales

Northern
Ireland

        UK

thousand hectares

ASNW2

206

89

31

0

326

PAWS2

135

59

30

1

225

OSNW2

210

44

52

15

320

Total ancient1

341

148

61

1

551

Total semi-natural1

416

133

82

15

646

Not National Statistics.

Source: Protected Forest Areas in the UK (S Pryor & G Peterken, 2001) with Northern Ireland data from Back on the Map (Woodland Trust, 2007)

Notes:

1. Ancient woodland is woodland that has been in continuous existence since 1600 (1750 in Scotland);
Semi-natural woodland is woodland with natural characteristics (predominantly native species of trees, ground plants and animals).
2. ASNW (ancient semi-natural woodland) is both ancient and semi-natural;
PAWS (plantation on an ancient woodland site) is ancient but not semi-natural;
OSNW (other semi-natural woodland) is semi-natural but not ancient.

Links to Forestry Statistics 2008