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Summary of Programme

The programme will pursue innovative approaches to forest inventories, data acquisition, high-quality forestry statistics and forest modelling in support of forest policy and practice.  New methods will be developed and integrated to inform choices on forest capital.

Sustainable forest management is only possible with the appropriate data and effective models which enable consequences of choices for a range of objectives to be explored and changes monitored.  These issues are long standing; relevant evidence is already available from previous forest inventories and published forestry statistics.  Models and tools for informing forest resource assessment and management decisions have been available for decades.  However, the quality of data and evidence sources require improving, whilst new tools are required, to address the evolving (and generally expanding) expectations of contemporary forestry and wider society, and the growing challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, the spread of tree pests and diseases, and uncertain economic circumstances.  New measurement technologies, inventory techniques and modelling methods need to be developed, integrated, and applied to meet these challenges.

Work Areas

WA1: Official statistics and international reporting

The collection, analysis and reporting of Official Statistics (including National Statistics) on UK forestry and the provision of UK forestry statistics to international organisations, as well as ensuring the Code of Practice for Statistics is complied with.

WA2: National Forest Inventory programme

The development and delivery of the National Forest Inventory (NFI), to acquire essential data on the spatial distribution and growing stock of woodlands which enable accurate and consistent reporting of the status of woodlands (growing stock, growing stock structure, productive potential, ecological factors) and trends in their development.

WA3: Improved forest models, resource assessment methods and supporting data

Methodological development to deliver updated yield models, progress new ‘elemental models’ representing aspects of tree growth, development of next-generation growth and yield models to address mixed species forests and enhance carbon/GHG balance models.  Data acquisition on fundamental tree characteristics and long-term growth to underpin model development.

WA4: Trees outside of woodland and urban and peri-urban forest monitoring.

Further development of urban and rural Trees Outside of Woodland monitoring of extent and composition, and continuation of the Urban Canopy Cover web map citizen science project at electoral ward level for the UK.

Key Topics

National Forest Inventory (NFI); sample plot network; growth and yield models; earth observation data

Contributing Science Groups

  • Land Use and Ecosystem Services
  • Forest Mensuration, Modelling and Forecasting
  • Inventory, Forecasting and Operational Support (IFOS)

Programme Manager

Ewan Mackie 

Work Area Co-Leads – Sheila Ward, Ben Ditchburn, Robert Matthews, Kieron Doick