Sources: Woodland area and planting
The definition of woodland in United Kingdom forestry statistics is land under stands of trees with a canopy cover of at least 20% (or having the potential to achieve this), including integral open space, and including felled areas that are awaiting restocking. There is no minimum height for trees to form a woodland at maturity, so the definition includes woodland scrub but not areas with only shrub species such as gorse or Rhododendron.
There is no minimum size for a woodland. In this report, 'woodland' (as defined above) refers to woods and forests of all sizes. The 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees mapped all areas down to 2.0 hectares, but sample-based information was also collected for smaller woods, small groups of trees and individual trees. The area statistics in Chapter 1 show totals for woods over 0.1 hectares.
This is a different definition from that used internationally which is based on 10% canopy cover, a minimum height at maturity of 5m and minimum area of 0.5 hectares. However, the two definitions are estimated to give similar areas of woodland in the UK, as the UK woodland in areas of 0.1 - 0.5 hectares balances the unrecorded area with 10 - 20% canopy cover.
Woodland includes native and non-native trees; semi-natural and plantation areas. Woodland habitat types are not currently differentiated in these statistics.
Integral open space is defined differently in the data sources used in this publication for woodland owned or managed by Forestry Commission (FC) and woodland owned by others (Tables 1.1 and 1.3). FC data now come from a GIS where mappable open space is excluded from the total. Non-FC woodland in Great Britain (from the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees, NIWT) includes open areas less than 1 hectare as integral open space.
Most public sector woodland is owned by or managed by the Forestry Commission (FC) or, in Northern Ireland, the Forest Service (FS). Woodland owned by local authorities, the Ministry of Defence, and other public sector bodies is included in 'non-FC/FS woodland'.
The following pages provide more detail on the data sources and methodology used to produce statistics on woodland area and planting. A quality report on Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking is available from our Quality web page.