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New planting & restocking
New planting is the creation of new areas of woodland. Restocking is the replanting of areas of woodland that have been felled. New planting can use planting/seeding or natural colonisation. Restocking can also use planting/seeding or natural regeneration.
Data sources and methodology
Information about Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Wales and Forest Service new planting and restocking comes from administrative systems. Information about other woodland has come principally from grant schemes, including the Countryside Stewardship in England, English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS), Glastir in Wales, Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW), Forestry Grant Scheme in Scotland, Rural Development Contracts in Scotland, Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme (SFGS) and Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS).
Areas receiving grant are allocated to years by date of payment. For natural colonisation and regeneration, the areas are generally those for which the second instalment of grant has been paid during the year. The second instalment is approved when woodland reaches a certain stage and density of growth, so this information corresponds approximately to the amount of new and restocked woodland created.
The coverage and level of grant support differ across schemes, so that figures on grant-aided planting are not directly comparable between countries or over time. Grant support for restocking of conifers changed with the introduction of Rural Development Contracts in Scotland in 2008. As a result, grant aid is no longer available for restocking with Sitka spruce in many cases. This will have led to a reduction in areas of private sector restocking that is grant-aided and therefore reported for Scotland.
New planting estimates for England also include areas supported by the Woodland Trust and areas funded by Natural England (High Level Stewardship Scheme/ Countryside Stewardship). From 2016-17, the estimated area of new planting includes new woodland creation supported by the Woodland Trust under the MOREwoods and Partnerships England projects. From 2017-18, the estimated area of new planting also includes new woodland creation supported by the Environment Agency.
Areas of land acquired by the National Forest Company for new planting have been included from 2015-16. To avoid potential double counting, areas of new planting believed to be supported by grant aid or by Woodland Trust have been excluded.
Local estimates for private sector areas of planting and restocking that are not grant aided were included for England, Wales and Scotland up to 2009-10, where possible. Estimates of non-grant aided planting and restocking were relatively small (less than one thousand hectares annually), and it has been assumed that all of this area is broadleaves. No estimates have been included for restocking of Sitka spruce in Scotland, or for restocking in England, that are no longer supported by grants. It is assumed that there is no private sector non-grant aided new planting and restocking in Northern Ireland.
The use of natural regeneration in non-clearfell systems is increasing substantially – particularly for broadleaves in England. These systems are not satisfactorily represented by measuring restocking area within any given year, and so broadleaf planting is likely to be under-reported in this release and other statistics.
Figures for Northern Ireland (Forest Service and private sector woodland) are provided by the Forest Service (www.daera-ni.gov.uk/topics/forestry).
The methodology and outputs relevant to UK woodland area, planting and restocking were reviewed in 2014. The review report is available at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/about-our-statistics/methodology-and-outputs/.
Figures for 2017-18 are final; provisional figures were previously released in “Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2018 Edition”.
Figures have not been revised from those provided in “Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2018 Edition”, although a revision has been made to the supporting data, to correct an error in the calculation of total broadleaved new planting + restocking in the longer time series data for England. Information on revisions made since “Forestry Statistics 2017” are provided in “Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2018 Edition”.
Information on significant revisions to published statistics is provided in the quality report on Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking, available from our Quality web page at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/about-our-statistics/code-of-practice/quality-of-official-statistics/.
The Forestry Commission’s revisions policy sets out how revisions and errors are dealt with and can be found at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/4355/FCrevisions.pdf.
Accompanying tables to this release, available at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/statistics-by-topic/woodland-statistics/, provide longer time series data by country for new planting and restocking.
Figures for new planting are also used to compile the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/transparency-and-reporting/reporting-and-review-under-the-convention/greenhouse-gas-inventories-annex-i-parties/national-inventory-submissions-2018). Summary factsheets, produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS (previously the Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC), are available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-greenhouse-gas-inventory-summary-factsheets.
New planting and restocking data are released twice a year. Provisional figures are published in Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking (to be renamed Provisional Woodland Statistics from 2019) in early June. Final figures are released in Forestry Statistics at the end of September.
Provisional figures for new planting and restocking in 2018-19 will be published on 13 June 2019 in “Provisional Woodland Statistics: 2019 Edition”.
Final results for new planting and restocking in 2018-19 will be published on 26 September 2019 in “Forestry Statistics 2019” and “Forestry Facts & Figures 2019”.
Chapter 1: Woodland Areas and Planting
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