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This chapter contains information on:

  • carbon in forests;
  • carbon sequestration;
  • 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

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

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).
  • The net annual rate of carbon dioxide accumulation by UK forests is projected to fall from around 18 million tonnes CO2 in total in 2020 to around 10 million tonnes CO2 by 2040.
  • A total of 302 projects had been validated to the Woodland Carbon Code at 31 March 2021, covering over 15 thousand hectares and projected to sequester 5.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime.


FS2021: Carbon

PDF, 0.72 MB

Chapter 4 text in PDF format

FS2021: Carbon tables


Chapter 4 tables in Microsoft Excel format

FS2021: Carbon tables


Chapter 4 tables in OpenDocument Spreadsheet format

Tools & Resources
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Tools & Resources