D3: Area of woodland in England

Final Final

Short description

This indicator shows change in the area of broadleaved and conifer woodland in England. Woodland as defined for the National Forest Inventory is land under stands of trees with a minimum area of 0.5 hectares, a width of at least 20 metres, and a canopy cover of at least 20% or having the potential to achieve this. The definition relates to land use, rather than land cover, so integral open space and areas of felled trees that are awaiting restocking (replanting) are included as woodland. Woodland is a key natural capital asset that provides many natural capital benefits, such as the provision of timber and other wood products, carbon storage, habitats for wildlife, and opportunities for exercise and recreation.

Updates are published annually in Forestry Statistics (Forest Research), with additional commentary on recent trends and new planting of trees in the quarterly Headline Key Performance Indicators reports (Forestry Commission).

Trend description

The total area of woodland in England has increased from 1.24 million hectares in 1998 to 1.31 million hectares in 2020, equating to an increase from 9.5% to 10.05% of the land area of England. This growth has been driven by an increase in broadleaf woodland; the area of conifer woodland in England has remained relatively static over the last 20 years.


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This table provides metadata for the interim or final indicator presented above.

Indicator name

Area of woodland in England

Indicator reference


Outcome Indicator Framework theme


Headline indicator status

Not applicable

Relevant goal(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Thriving plants and wildlife
  • Using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently
  • Enhancing beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment
Relevant target(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Creating or restoring 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside the protected site network, focusing on priority habitats as part of a wider set of land management changes providing extensive benefits
  • Increasing woodland in England in line with our aspiration of 12% cover by 2060
Position in the natural capital framework
  • Condition of assets - land
  • Condition of assets - species and ecological communities
Related reporting commitments
  • Equivalent data at UK level are reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation for its regular Forest Resources Assessment, and to Forest Europe for reporting to the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe and publication in the State of Europe’s Forests
Geographic scope

England. The related National Forest Inventory woodland map geospatial Open Data can be disaggregated to any sub-national geography required.

Status of indicator development


Date last updated

11 June 2021