Forestry Statistics 2012 - Sources

Sources: Woodland area and planting

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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 administrative records of FC 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 2012 provided in this release are based on the NFI woodland area map of Great Britain at March 2011. The map is overlaid with a map of Forestry Commission land, to enable a breakdown by ownership type to be estimated. This also enables FC "other land" areas to be estimated (table 1.5). The figures derived from these maps are then updated to March 2012 by adding areas of new planting in 2011-12. Initial estimates of conifer stocked area and broadleaved stocked area at March 2011, 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:$FILE/mnwoodarea.pdf
Information on the effect of these revisions is provided in the Revisions section of the Annex to "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2012 Edition".
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

Figures for Northern Ireland (Forest Service and non-Forest Service woodland) are provided by the Forest Service ( Woodland areas for 2012 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. Work to develop the register is ongoing and further revisions are therefore expected when 2013 estimates are produced.

Further information on administrative sources can be found at:

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/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.


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,, 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:$FILE/qrwapr.pdf
Further quality information on FC Official Statistics is available at:


Figures at March 2012 are final; provisional figures were previously released in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2012 Edition".

Revisions to the March 2012 figures have been made to take account of the improved woodland area data available from the new NI woodland register. This has resulted in an increase of 17 thousand hectares (19%) in the Northern Ireland woodland area from the figure previously released.

Figures for earlier years have not been revised from those provided in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2012 Edition". Information on revisions made since "Forestry Statistics 2011" are provided in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2012 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

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

Further information

Accompanying tables to this release, available at, 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" (, and Forest Europe for the 4-yearly "State of Europe's Forests"  ( 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.
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, A summary factsheet is produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), available at
Release schedule

Provisional figures for woodland area and certified woodland area at March 2013 will be published on 13 June 2013 in "Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2013 Edition".

Final results for woodland area and certified woodland area at March 2013 will be published on 26 September 2013 in "Forestry Statistics 2013" and "Forestry Facts & Figures 2013".

Links to Forestry Statistics 2012