Best practice steps for establishing new woodlands - guidance for planners

The steps below show the main stages in the process of creating and managing woodland. (A definition of woodland).

Links to relevant resources and key Forestry Commission best practice guidance are provided for each step. The guidance supports the delivery of the UK Forestry Standard (PDF 5MB), which is the Government’s minimum standard for sustainable forest management in Scotland.


Can I, and should I, create a woodland here?

Step 1: Identify whether land has any constraints or sensitivities that preclude the establishment of new woodland.

Why am I creating woodland, and what type of trees would be best?

Step 2: Identify whether land suitable for woodland establishment is also suitable for growing the type of trees for your objectives.

What should my woodland look like, and how can it best complement its surroundings?

Step 3: Plan and design new woodland layout. Consider tree species for site conditions, internal / external open ground and general integration in the wider landscape.

What do other people think of my plans?

Step 4: Discuss your proposals with neighbours, other interested parties and local Forestry Commission Scotland office. Amend your proposals accordingly.

What are the best techniques to use to create my woodland?

Step 5: Establish and protect your new woodland on the site following guidance on best practice woodland establishment techniques.

How do I manage my new woodland?

Step 6: Manage new woodland following guidance on best practice woodland management operations.

Definition of woodland

Woodland is defined as land under a stand of trees with, or the potential to achieve, tree canopy cover of 20% or more. The minimum size of woodland Forestry Commission Scotland can grant-aid is 0.25 hectare. The woodland must also have a minimum width of 15 metres.

Where to get help and advice

Forestry Commission Scotland offers advice on all aspects of establishment and management, as well as managing the funding support for the establishment and management of woodlands in Scotland. For more details contact any Forestry Commission Scotland office.

Private forestry consultants are listed in the business pages of the telephone directory under 'Forestry Consultant'. Professional forestry consultants are usually members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). They can offer advice on establishing and managing woodlands of all types, and will prepare plans and applications for funding.