Forest and Woodlands
Trees grow well and quickly in the heavy soils of England, and for a long time prehistoric settlers did not have tools strong enough to cut down the heavy oak forests. Over the centuries the expanding human population cut back the forests, so that today only 9.9 percent of the United Kingdom is forested, roughly 2 million hectares (6 million acres). In contrast, 25 percent of Europe is forested. Only 8 percent of England is covered by forest, 15 percent of Scotland, 12 percent of Wales, and 6 percent of Northern Ireland. Britain's forests produce about 15 percent of the total wood the country consumes, and Britain imports substantial amounts of wood and wood products. Efforts have been made in Britain to grow more trees and expand the managed forest areas. Local authorities have the power to protect trees and woodlands. It is an offense to cut down trees without permission, and when trees protected by the government die they must be replaced.