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England’s Open Habitats Policy includes a decision framework for identifying sites where woodland removal to restore open habitats is likely or unlikely to be allowed. Forest Research, with FC England and Natural England, has produced tools to help make these decisions for deep peat sites.

The decision support materials consist of:

  • Improved map of deep peat soils for England
  • Map of woodland on deep peat for England
  • Spatial dataset including many of the Open Habitat Policy decision criteria
  • Indicative maps of likely decision outcome for two different policy climate scenarios
  • Field assessment for use in England(PDF-823k)

Woodland Officers regularly receive felling licence applications to permanently remove woodland for peatland habitat restoration. This entails a complex decision. Thirteen Open Habitats Policy criteria need to be considered on top of the normal felling decision process. Plus assessing site suitability requires some peatland know-how. Every case will be decided on its own merits but these tools will help.

Forest Research has also been involved in producing


For further info on these decision support materials, contact:

Russell Anderson, or Neil Riddle.

  1. Maps of deep peat soils and woodland on deep peat for England
  2. Maps showing outcomes for policy climate scenarios 1 and2

NB. These are very large files, please get in touch if you would like a copy

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