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Certified woodland area

Certified woodland in the UK has been independently audited against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. Forestry certification schemes are owned by international non-governmental organisations and exist to promote good forest practice. They offer product labels to demonstrate that wood or wood products come from well-managed forests.

Figures for certified woodland areas are often used as an indicator of sustainable forest management. However, it should be noted that woodland that is not certified may also be managed sustainably.

Most changes to the certified woodland area figures over time are a result of new areas being certified or certificates not being renewed upon expiry. Temporary changes can also occur if there is a time lag between expiry and renewal.

1.40 million hectares of woodland in the UK were certified in March 2019 (Table 1.4). This represented 44% of the total UK woodland area, 25% in England, 47% in Wales, 59% in Scotland and 58% in Northern Ireland.

Table 1.4 Woodland area certified, March 2019

Ownership  England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
thousand hectares     
FE/FLS/NRW/FS woodland1 215 117 469 62 863
Private sector woodland2 110 29 395 3 538
Total woodland area certified 325 146 864 66 1400

Source: Forest Stewardship Council, Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service, National Forest Inventory.

Notes:

1. FE: Forestry England, FLS: Forestry and Land Scotland, NRW: Natural Resources Wales, FS: Forest Service (Northern Ireland). NRW estimates only relate to woodland formerly owned/managed by FC Wales.

2. Private sector: all other woodland. Includes woodland previously owned/managed by the Countryside Council for Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales, other publicly owned woodland (e.g. owned by local authorities) and privately owned woodland.

3. All certified woodland in 2019 is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme. Some of these woodlands are also certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme.

4. The estimates are based on UK data published by FSC, supplemented by data from individual certificates and other sources.  Where possible, figures are for the woodland area certified, rather than the land area certified.

5. All FE/FLS/NRW/FS woodland is certified. The FE/FLS/NRW/FS areas are the latest areas, as shown in Table 1.1, rather than the areas shown on the certificates.

Data: Longer time series of the above table are available from the Data Downloads webpage.

Figure 1.2 presents certified woodland area by country since December 2001. The area of certified woodland has increased by 2% between March 2018 and March 2019 and is 32% higher than at December 2001.

Figure 1.2 Area of certified woodland, 2001-2019

Fig 1.2.png

Source: Forest Stewardship Council, Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service.

Notes:

1. All certified woodland is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme. Some of these woodlands are also certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme.

2. The estimates are based on UK data published by FSC, supplemented by data from individual certificates and other sources. Where possible, figures are for the woodland area certified, rather than the land area certified.

3. Figures for earlier years were revised for consistency with results from the National Forest Inventory.

Additional resources

Sources chapter: Woodland area

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