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A national mapping project for England, of priority areas to target the Countryside Stewardship woodland grants to areas were woodland creation and management can meet government priorities and generate multiple benefits to society.

Woodland creation

The Countryside Stewardship (CS) Woodland Creation Grant (WCG) aims to establish new woodland that meet government priorities and generate multiple benefits for society. Applications will be assessed competitively using scoring criteria to evaluate their merit for a set of biodiversity, water and cross-cutting objectives.

Woodland management

The Countryside Stewardship (CS) Woodland Improvement Grant (WCG) aims to bring all areas of privately owned woodland into management where they met one of six objectives listed below:

  • woodland within a designated Natura 2000 site
  • conversation of conifer plantations on an ancient woodland site within a target area of a priority woodland habitat network
  • conifer plantation within a catchment failing or at risk of failing WFD Good Ecological Status due to eutrophication and/or acidification.
  • woodland within a red squirrel reserve or red squirrel reserve buffer
  • broadleaf woodland within a priority woodland bird area
  • unmanaged woodland

Further information

The GIS layers are assessable via the FC England map Viewer which shows the Countryside Stewardship priority areas.

Further information is available from the FC England Countryside Stewardship webpage

Research objectives

  • Identify priority areas were woodland creation and management can improve biodiversity, habitat quality and reliance to climate change and reduce rural diffuse pollution and flood risk.
  • Provide GIS spatial datasets and maps

Findings and Recommendations

Maps of the spatial priority areas for woodland creation to meet objectives for biodiversity, water quality, flood risk and climate change have been created from a composite of several woodland opportunity mapping layers; including the forest and woodland Habitat Network, the Woodlands for Water national opportunity maps and the Environment Agency’s Lidar-derived Riparian Shade Map. Applications for woodland creation grants will be evaluated using the scoring criteria to assess the design and location of the proposed new woodland and ensure the grant aid spend delivers positive outcomes for water quality, flood risk management and climate change adaption by improving habitat quality.