Sources: Woodland area and planting
Woodland inventories have taken place in Great Britain every 15 years or so. Most inventories, however, used slightly different definitions of woodland, so some apparent changes in area over time are due to changing definitions. The principal differences for inventories since 1905 are:
- 1905 Felled areas and scrub were not included.
- 1924 Undertaken by questionnaire; woods smaller than 2 acres (0.8 hectares) were not included.
- 1947 Woodlands with an area of less than 5 acres (2 hectares) were not included.
- 1965 Woodlands with an area of less than 1 acre (0.4 hectares) were not included.
- 1980 Woodlands with an area of less than 0.25 hectares were not included.
- 1995-99 Woodlands with an area of 0.1-2 hectares were included on a sample basis; some woodland missing from earlier surveys was included.
Estimates of woodland area prior to 1905 have been obtained from a variety of sources, including:
- Domesday Survey of England - for information in 1086;
- Scottish Woodland History (TC Smout ed, 1997) - for estimate for end Middle Ages in Scotland;
- Roy maps c1750 - for Scotland 17th Century estimate.
National Inventory of Woodland and Trees
In the latest 1995-99 inventory, data were collected for one hectare squares, covering a wide variety of topics, include ownership type, species and age. The results were uprated to total woodland areas from a digital map based on aerial photography.
Results are published for countries (Great Britain, England, Wales, Scotland) and for more detailed geographical breakdowns (regions and counties).
A new National Forest Inventory is currently taking place.
Further details on the 1995-99 National Inventory of Woodland and Trees and the new National Forest Inventory are available from www.forestry.gov.uk/inventory.