Forestry Statistics 2011 - Sources

Sources: Woodland area and planting

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Woodland Area

Background

Data on woodland area in the UK for 2011 (and revised figures for 2010) are derived from the following sources:

  • Forestry Commission administrative records of FC land areas;
  • Forest Service administrative records of FS woodland areas;
  • National Forest Inventory (NFI) woodland map for 2010 (GB);
  • Statistics on new planting in Great Britain and
  • Forest Service estimates of non-FS woodland area in Northern Ireland. 

For earlier years (including original 2010 figures), data on woodland area in the UK were derived from the following sources:

  • Forestry Commission and Forest Service administrative records of FC/ FS woodland areas;
  • National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (GB);
  • Statistics on new planting of non-FC woodlands in Great Britain;
  • Forestry Commission administrative records of disposals of woodland (GB) and
  • Forest Service estimates of non-FS woodland area in Northern Ireland. 

Data on certified woodland areas are obtained from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and follow-up enquiries with certificate holders.

Data collected

Data are woodland areas in each country (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) by ownership (FC/ FS, non-FC/ FS) and type of woodland (conifer, broadleaf).

For certified woodland areas, data collected from FSC are the areas that are certified for each certificate holder.  Follow-up enquiries are made with larger certificate holders to check the certified areas and to provide a country breakdown.

Methodology for 2011 (and revised 2010) data

For woodlands in Great Britain, estimates of woodland areas were obtained from the 2010 National Forest Inventory (NFI) woodland map, published in Spring 2011.  The 2010 figures were then rolled forward for each country by adding statistics for new planting to produce 2011 estimates.  No account is taken of woodland converted to another land-use.

A breakdown between FC and non-FC woodlands was then estimated by overlaying geographic boundaries for all Forestry Commission land onto the NFI map.  This also enabled FC 'other land' areas to be estimated (table 1.5).

Information on type of woodland (conifer/ broadleaf) is not yet available from the National Forest Inventory.  The conifer/ broadleaf breakdown for each country (within GB) and ownership type in 2011 and 2010 (revised) is currently estimated by applying the breakdowns obtained using the previous data sources.

For FS woodlands, data were obtained from administrative systems.  Forest Service also provide estimates of non-FS woodland.

For certified woodland area, as all FC/ FS woodlands are certified, the total woodland area (as derived above, from the NFI map and FC boundaries) is used, rather than the area provided on the certificates.

Previous Methodology

For FC/ FS woodlands, data were obtained annually from administrative systems.  Forest Service also provided estimates of non-FS woodland on an annual basis.

For non-FC woodlands in Great Britain, annual estimates of woodland areas were based on the 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (NIWT).  The figures obtained from NIWT were then rolled forward for each country by adding statistics for new planting of non-FC woodland and disposals of FC woodland.  No account is taken of woodland converted to another land-use, nor for changes in composition at restocking, as there are no sufficiently reliable data sources for these topics.

For certified woodland area, as all FC/ FS woodlands are certified, the total woodland area (from administrative records) was used, rather than the area provided on the certificates.

Revisions

The statistics on woodland area may be revised between the provisional figures published in the First Release 'Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking' and the final data published in Forestry Facts & Figures and Forestry Statistics, to take account of revisions to administrative data.  They are not normally revised after final figures are published except, when a new National Inventory is published, previous years may be revised.

For certified woodland area, the figures are not normally revised.

The release of initial results from the National Forest Inventory woodland area map has resulted in a discontinuity in the time series for woodland area and for certified woodland area.  2010 figures are therefore shown on both bases (revised figures based on initial results from the NFI and original figures based on the previous methodology), to enable comparisons over time.

Information on significant revisions to published statistics is provided in the quality report on Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking, available from our Quality web page.

Reporting

Statistics reported for each year are published at a country level (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).

Time series data, providing figures on certified woodland area are available from the Woodland Area and Planting Statistics web page.  The time series data feature breakdowns by country and by ownership (FC/ FS, non-FC/ FS).

Woodland loss

There are currently no complete estimates of woodland loss in the UK.

National Forest Inventory Woodland Area Statistics for Great Britain (Spring 2010) has reported:

  • 0.5 thousand hectares of observed permanent woodland loss identified to date from work comparing the aerial photography associated with the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (NIWT) woodland map to the NFI woodland map;
  • Forestry Commission administrative based estimates from each country that sum to around 20-30 thousand hectares of woodland removal for open habitat creation or for windfarm developments across Great Britain over the past decade.

Work to improve these estimates is ongoing.

Links to Forestry Statistics 2011

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