Woodlands cover 13% of the UK’s land area and almost three quarters (2,283,000 ha) are in private ownership, yet little was known about the awareness of woodland owners and managers, and forestry professionals, concerning the importance of woodland resilience to environmental change. Many key questions concerning adaptation to environmental change were unasked and unanswered, meaning that accordance with the guidelines of the United Kingdom Forestry Standard (UKFS) has been difficult to measure, both in terms of current actions and future aspirations.
A survey was conducted during the summer months to gather evidence to address these questions. It attracted responses from 1509 people including: 827 private woodland owners; 182 forestry agents; 235 other tree and forestry professionals ( e.g. NGO staff, forestry contractors); and 19 tree nursery businesses. Responses were received from across the whole of the UK: most private woodland owners were located in England, while agents proportionally represented more properties than owners in Scotland and Wales. The respondents represented an area of woodland, managed by owners or their agents, covering 247,891 ha; equal to 11% of all privately-owned woodlands in the UK.
The British Woodlands Survey 2015 was supported by an Advisory Group comprising representatives of Climate Ready, Confor, Country Land & Business Association, Forestry Commission England, Forest Research, Natural England, Royal Forestry Society, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford, and Woodland Trust. Funding was provided by the Forestry Commission, Oxford University and the Woodland Trust. The survey was hosted and co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation.
The survey ran from July 31st to September 30th 2015, and is now closed. Please note that the survey questions are provided online for those interested in viewing the survey questions. Responses submitted will not be analysed. View the survey questions.
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The survey is part of a wider suite of activities related to resilience including the drafting of an Accord, which is a call from across the forestry sector for action to be taken to ensure our trees, woods and forests are more resilient. Organisations and landowners with an interest in trees and forestry have also produced 'Adaptation in Action' statements, to explain their individual views on issues and the actions they are taking to improve resilience.