Centuries ago, much of the UK was covered in forest. Over the years however, people have cut trees down for: fuel, building materials and to make room for farming. The forests have become smaller and many have just disappeared altogether.

Devilla Forest - - 277989

Today, most of the forests in the UK are located in upland areas because it is a profitable way of using land which may be: too high, too steep and infertile to farm on. They can also be used by visitors for recreation.

The Kielder Forest, near the Scottish border in northern Northumberland, is the third largest forest in the UK and covers an area of 610km2. Over 1 million coniferous trees grow in it, with sitka spruce covering the largest area - planted because it is fast growing. Forest tracks, picnic sites, log cabins and camping/caravan sites are provided for the 300,000 visitors to the forest each year. They enjoy activities like: walking, horse riding, cycling and orienteering.

Track in Kielder Forest - - 204450

There are two types of wood commonly used for manufacturing:
  • softwood like scots pine is used in paper-making and for light building materials and is produced by quick-growing conifers (that have needle-like leaves);
Scots pine trees in the Alderhill Inclosure, New Forest - - 156912
  • hardwood like oak is used for furniture making and for strong building materials and is produced by slow-growing deciduous trees (that lose their leaves in winter).
Also, rubber, some waxes, resins, gums and many medicines come from trees as well.

Used as Timber to Make Paper Burnt for Fuel
in industrialised countries
in developing countries

Forests need to be managed properly because trees are very important living things.

To look after forests, people must limit how many trees are felled and also plant new trees to replace them.

This picture shows how Risdale Forest in Northumberland is being managed so new trees are being grown all the time.

Successive tree planting - - 575808