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Woodland Creation and Expansion – Programme 6

Research Status:current

Increasing woodland cover is a priority for all three nations of Great Britain. There are ambitious woodland creation and tree planting targets in each. This provides opportunity to restore degraded landscapes while tackling the climate and biodiversity crises.

This core Programme of research includes a number of projects which aim to understand more about new woodlands: where to locate them, how they develop, what benefits they might provide over time, and how this can be achieved. The research in this Programme aims to untangle the complex interactions between location, extent and species, and discover which combinations can reliably confer multiple benefits such as carbon capture and improved biodiversity. The research will co-produce products and tools which support land managers, stakeholders and policy makers to increase engagement with woodland creation activities.

Research objectives

  • To learn more about who might create new woodlands, what their reasons might be, and what support they need.
  • To develop methods for identifying the locations of existing trees outside woodlands from remote sensing data to inform assessments of woodland creation.
  • To find out what ecological and social benefits new woodlands (created through both ‘planting’ and ‘natural colonisation’) provide and when they are provided.
  • To use an agent-based model and woodland expansion scenarios to explore where and how new woodlands should be created to maximise. ecological and social benefits
Forest workers on tree planting course. New Forest FD.
© Forestry Commission/Isobel Cameron

Related content


Woodland Creation and Ecological Networks (WrEN) Project

WrEN is a long-term, large-scale ‘natural experiment’ which is studying the influence of different site and landscape attributes on biodiversity in a chronosequence of secondary woodlands.

Status current


Identifying Opportunities for Woodland Creation in Central Scotland

This research aims to assist those responsible for woodland creation in the Central Scotland Green Network area in identifying landowners and locations which offer the ‘best bets’ for new tree planting. In addition, the research seeks to inform on how communication and outreach can be tailored so as to be more effective.

Status completed