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, statistics for 2011 (and revised 2010 data), based on the National Forest Inventory (NFI), refer to woods and forests of at least 0.5 hectares, as mapped through the NFI. Figures for previous years (including original 2010 data), based on the 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees, include sample-based estimates for woods and forests between 0.1 hectares and 2.0 hectares in addition to mapped areas of 2.0 hectares or over.
This is a slightly 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.
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 was defined differently in the data sources previously used in this publication for woodland owned or managed by the Forestry Commission (FC) and woodland owned by others (Table 1.3). FC data for 2010 (original) and earlier years came 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) included open areas less than 1 hectare as integral open space. For 2011 (and revised 2010) statistics, both FC and non-FC woodland areas are derived from the National Forest Inventory where open space within woodlands of less than 0.5 hectares is included in the woodland area estimates.
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.