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4: Carbon

Introduction

This chapter contains information on:

  • carbon in forests;
  • the Woodland Carbon Code; and
  • public attitudes to forestry and climate change.

Estimates for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are included, where possible, in addition to UK totals. International comparisons of carbon stocks are provided in the International Forestry chapter. Further information on the data sources and methodology used to compile the figures is provided in the Sources chapter.

All of the statistics presented in this chapter have been previously released.

A copy of all carbon tables can be accessed in spreadsheet format from the Data Downloads web page at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/data-downloads/.

In addition to the statistics presented here, information on UK forests and climate change is available from "Combating Climate Change – a role for UK forests" (The Read Report), an independent assessment of the science published in November 2009 and available at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/2062/SynthesisUKAssessmentfinal.pdf.

This chapter had previously included statistics on net annual changes in carbon in UK woodlands.  No update is currently available. Historical data have been released by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-greenhouse-gas-emissions-statistics.

Key findings

The main findings are:

  • The total carbon stock in UK forests is estimated to have increased, from around 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 1990 to 4.0 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020.

  • Around one half (51%) of the total UK forest carbon stock in 2020 is in Scotland (2.0 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), 36% in England (1.5 billion tonnes), 8% in Wales (0.3 billion tonnes) and 4% in Northern Ireland (0.2 billion tonnes).

  • A total of 239 projects had been validated to the Woodland Carbon Code at 31 March 2020, covering over 12,000 hectares and projected to sequester 4.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime.

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FS2020: Carbon

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Chapter 4 text in PDF format

FS2020: Carbon tables

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Chapter 4 tables in Microsoft Excel format

FS2020: Carbon tables

ODS

Chapter 4 tables in OpenDocument Spreadsheet format

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