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The current National Forest Inventory is the first continuous inventory of British woodlands and is being conducted on a five year cycle. Prior to the National Forest Inventory, a series of one-off woodland inventories took place in Great Britain every 15 years or so.
Most inventories used slightly different definitions of woodland, so some apparent changes in area over time are due to changing definitions. The principal differences for inventories since 1905 are:
Estimates of woodland area prior to 1905 have been obtained from a variety of sources, including:
National Forest Inventory
In the latest inventory, a digital map based on aerial photography, satellite imagery and other data sources has been produced, from which estimates of total woodland areas have been derived. Data are currently being collected for one hectare sample squares, covering a wide variety of topics, including ownership type, species and age.
Initial results for 2010 were published for countries (Great Britain, England, Wales, Scotland) in Spring 2011. Interim results, based on field survey data combined with information from the NFI map, have since been published on the National Forest Inventory web pages at www.forestry.gov.uk/inventory.
Further information on administrative sources can be found at: www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-832ey5
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