The Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey is an annual survey conducted by the Forestry Commission (in association with the Forest Service) of a sample of harvesting companies in the UK.
The survey, which previously covered harvesting companies in Great Britain only, was extended in 2004 to include harvesting companies in Northern Ireland. Figures for Northern Ireland in earlier years have therefore been estimated, based on responses to the 2004 survey.
The questionnaire used for the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey is issued to around 40 harvesting companies, to collect information on:
- the quantity of softwood roundwood harvested from non-FC/ FS woodlands in the UK in the current year and in the previous year;
- the quantity of softwood roundwood harvested from certified non-FC/ FS woodlands and
- (in 2008) the quantity sold to bioenergy (including wood pellet manufacture).
In 2008, the questionnaire was issued to 41 harvesting companies, of which 35 responded, giving a response rate of 85%.
Methodology - Estimation of non-FC/ FS softwood removals
The percentage change in non-FC/ FS softwood removals from the previous year to the current year is calculated for all respondents. This percentage change is then applied to the estimated total for the previous year, subject to any revisions (see below), to produce an estimated total for the current year.
Results from the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey may be revised between the provisional figures published in the First Release 'UK Wood Production and Trade' and the final data published in Forestry Facts and Figures and Forestry Statistics to take account of late returns and the results of additional data quality checking procedures.
In order to use the most accurate information possible in estimating total non-FC/ FS softwood removals, figures for non respondents in earlier years are estimated wherever possible, using their responses in previous and in subsequent years. This may cause the estimates for all previous years to be revised when new data are received from a former non-respondent. This process reduces the potential over-inflation of estimated removals which can be caused by harvesting companies tending to respond when removals have increased but being less likely to do so when their removals have reduced.
Figures are published as UK totals and as percentages from each country (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).