Best practice steps for managing woodland - guidance for planners

The steps below show the main stages in the process of creating and managing woodland. (See 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 (2004), which is the Government’s minimum standard for sustainable forest management in Scotland.


What management work is required across the whole site?

Step 1: Carry out a woodland survey to establish current condition and determine the management needs for the trees, open habitat and other natural heritage and cultural heritage features of the site.

When and where across the whole site do I need to carry out management work?

Step 2: Produce a woodland management plan identifying both activities and areas (plan duration: 5 years in detail and 20 years in outline).

How am I going to implement the planned work?

Step 3: Implement first 5 year period of management plan 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.