After eight years of extensive research, Forestry Commission Scotland have launched the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland (NWSS). This survey is the most comprehensive of its kind ever carried out in the UK and one of the first of its kind in Europe. Valuable data from the survey is now freely available to access and use for a wide range of applications.
The Native Woodland Survey of Scotland (NWSS) maps the location, extent type and condition of all of Scotland’s native woodlands over O,5ha in size. As part of the launch, a series of general information films and educational tools have also been released.
Accoding to the survey, there is 31,129ha of Native Woodland in the CSGN, which is 3.1% of the total land area. Moreover, it is reported that 34% of native woodland is in good health for biodiversity. The survey also presents data for the ancient woodland sites in the CSGN area which cover an area of 8,091ha.
The data are extremely useful for a wide range of purposes such as strategic and development planning, environmental assessments, management planning for woodlands and others. The data have been proven to be valuable already as the Commission’s Biodiversity Policy Adviser, Gordon Patterson mentioned during the launch event:
‘An example of the value of the data was when we made use of it in November 2012 to quickly identify where in Scotland there were ash areas that needed to be checked for the presence of Ash dieback. The fact that we completed that survey in a remarkable five days illustrates the value – and potential additional applications – of this information.’