Forestry Commission logo

Forestry Statistics 2014 - Sources

Sources: Woodland area and planting

previous | next  

Woodland Area

Data Sources and Methodology

Woodland Area

Data on woodland area in the UK presented in this release are derived from the following sources:

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

For Great Britain, the woodland areas at March 2014 provided in this release are based on the NFI woodland area map of Great Britain at March 2013. The map is overlaid with a map of Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales (ex Forestry Commission Wales only) land, to enable a breakdown by ownership type to be estimated. This also enables FC/NRW "other land" areas to be derived (Table 1.5). The woodland area figures estimated from these maps are then updated to March 2014 by adding areas of new planting in 2013-14. Initial estimates of conifer stocked area and broadleaved stocked area at March 2012, derived from NFI interim field survey results, were used to estimate the breakdown by type of woodland.
 
The methodology has been refined since Forestry Statistics 2011 to take account of revisions to the NFI woodland area map and the availability of initial results on stocked areas from the NFI field survey. Details of the changes and their potential impact on the figures are available in the "Methodology Note: Annual Woodland Area Estimates", available at: www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/mnwoodarea.pdf/$FILE/mnwoodarea.pdf
 
Further information on the methodology used by the National Forest Inventory and comparisons of results from the NFI and previous woodland area estimates is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/inventory.

Figures for Northern Ireland (Forest Service and non-Forest Service woodland) are provided by the Forest Service (www.dardni.gov.uk/forestry). Woodland areas from 2012 to 2014 provided in this release have been obtained from the NI woodland register.

The NI woodland register is based on a combined dataset derived from fourteen individual datasets from statutory bodies including Forest Service, Land and Property Services, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and non statutory bodies which include Woodland Trust and National Trust. The minimum area of woodland that has been included in the register is 0.1 hectares.

The use of the NI woodland register has resulted in a step change in the non-Forest Service woodland areas reported for Northern Ireland. This should be interpreted as an improvement in the data reported, rather than an actual increase in woodland area.

Further information on administrative sources can be found at: www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-832ey5

Certified woodland area

Data on certified woodland areas are obtained from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and contact with individual land owners and managers. Some of the certified woodland has dual certification, i.e. it is certified under both the FSC scheme and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme.

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

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

Quality

The statistics on woodland area presented here refer to woodland as a land use rather than a land cover, so felled areas and newly planted areas are included within the definition of woodland. Some statistics on woodland area as a land cover are available from other sources (e.g. Countryside Survey 2007, www.countrysidesurvey.org.uk, and associated Land Cover Map).
 
Detailed information on the quality of the woodland area statistics presented in this publication is available in the "Quality Report: Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking" at:
www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/qrwapr.pdf/$FILE/qrwapr.pdf
 
Further quality information on FC Official Statistics is available at: www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7zhk85

Revisions

Figures at March 2014 are final; provisional figures were previously released in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2014 Edition".

The detailed woodland area breakdowns (by both ownership and forest type) have been refined since the publication of "Woodland Area, Planting and restocking: 2014 Edition".

As a result, in Table 1.1 (area of woodland by ownership & forest type):

  • FC/NRW/FS broadleaves woodland area in the UK has been revised from 128 to 129 thousand hectares;
  • Private sector broadleaves woodland area has been revised from 137 to 136 thousand hectares in Wales, from 330 to 328 thousand hectares in Scotland, and from 1404 to 1402 thousand hectares in the UK;
  • Private sector conifers woodland area has been revised from 612 to 614 thousand hectares in Scotland and from 864 to 866 thousand hectares in the UK.

Information on revisions made since "Forestry Statistics 2013" are provided in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2014 Edition".

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 at www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7zhk85.

The Forestry Commission's revisions policy sets out how revisions and errors are dealt with and can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCrevisions.pdf/$FILE/FCrevisions.pdf

Further information

Accompanying tables to this release, available at www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7aqknx, provide longer time series data by country for certified woodland.
 
Figures for woodland area in the UK are provided to international organisations; the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) for the 5-yearly "Global Forest Resources Assessment" (www.fao.org/forestry/fra/en), and Forest Europe for the 4-yearly "State of Europe's Forests"  (www.foresteurope.org/reporting_SFM). Latest UK figures in international reports, submitted in May 2009 (for the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010) and in August 2010 (for the State of Europe’s Forests 2011), are based on data from the 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (NIWT). The UK woodland area figures presented in the International Forestry chapter are based on these earlier, NIWT-based, estimates.
 
Figures for woodland area are also used to compile the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, http://unfccc.int/national_reports/annex_i_ghg_inventories/national_inventories_submissions/items/7383.php). Summary factsheets, produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), are available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-greenhouse-gas-inventory-summary-factsheets.
 
Release schedule

Provisional figures for woodland area and certified woodland area at March 2015 will be published on 11 June 2015 in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2015 Edition".

Final results for woodland area and certified woodland area at March 2015 will be published on 24 September 2015 in "Forestry Statistics 2015" and "Forestry Facts & Figures 2015".

Links to Forestry Statistics 2014