WeeForest Lens

Mapping the trees of the United Kingdom.

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The United Kingdom's definition of Woodland includes 600,000 hectares of felled trees

Image credit, clockwise: John Lucas, Mary and Angus Hogg, Adam Burton / WTML

Out of 3,160,000 hectares that the National Forest Inventory designates as "woodland" only 25%, or 750,000 hectares, host what can be considered Native Woods, with the rest being predominately coniferous plantations meant to be harvested - a crop, poisoning the soil and water it's standing on and making it unsuitable for native habitat residents.

Native Trees comprise just 6% of UK's total land area

When combining the Ancient Woodland Inventories and Trees Outside Woods dataset, the Native Trees if the United Kingdom1 make up just 1,500,000 hectares2 split almost equally.

This figure has also been reduced by at least 70,000 hectares or 4% in the last decade, predominantly due to fellings.

The area of felled woodland has grown 200% over the last decade

Forestry Commission, Natural England, NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Natural Resources Wales. Contains Ordnance Survey Data. © Crown copyright and database right 2006-2022. Built with Plotly.

During the period between 2012 and 2022 the area of woodland reported by NFI as "Felled" or equivalently empty has grown from 200,000 hectares to 600,000, tripling in just a decade. This includes 70,000 hectares of land present in the Ancient Woodland Inventories.

This means that currently there is around 600,000 hectares of land standing without a tree to speak of.


Spread the word

Simplest one, really. Spread the word about the issue, share your views and educate about the difference between native trees, forestry plantations and trees outside woods. Share this map.

Volunteer and engage

Whilst professional planting is by far the most efficient way of afforestation, there is immense benefit in engaging locally and meeting new people. Seek out your local projects and events!

Support WeeForest Lens

This project is entirely open-source and has been built by one person. With your support I'll be able to cover the hosting fees, continue improving the map, and the resources within, potentially acquiring new ones like the hedge dataset (that's £300 admin fee) and making them available in Lens to the extent that the license allows.

Mossy Earth is a spectacular organisation dedicated to rewilding and reforestation projects across the world, with solid ties to the UK. You can buy and even gift membership with them and see your contribution in action.

The Woodland Trust is UK's largest woodland conservation charity and they do a lot of good work, so becoming a member would help them fund more of that work and you to be more engaged in their activities.

See for yourself

On an interactive map with timeline, split and swipe modes.

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Detailed methodology, data sources and attributions can be found in the GitHub repository.

  1. Trees Data for Northern Ireland not included due to being largely unavailable, total area is UK.
  2. National Forest Inventory's Woodland Ecological Condition report claims that Native trees make up 1.5m hectares alone, without the 750k hectares of trees outside woods, but geospatial data for that survey is not available and definitions may be considered flawed with real numbers closer to 1,3m hectares.