THE total amount of woodland torn down during Storm Arwen is now believed to be significantly higher than initially thought. 

Forestry officials say around 12,000 hectares of tree loss occurred across Great Britain when the 100 mph winds swept through the nation in late November last year.

That's up from provisional estimates of 5,200 ha, and equates to millions of trees. The new total is also: 

  • A larger area of land than Belfast 
  • Twice the size of San Marino 
  • More than 17,000 football pitches 

The new Forest Research figures – published today – reveal 3,304 ha of the damage was in England (up from initial estimates of 1,700 ha), 8,781 ha in Scotland (up from 3,500 ha), and 78 ha in Wales. 

READ MORE: Storm Arwen: One year on, what's its legacy for forestry?

In light of the findings, Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission, has called for landowners and forest managers to consider planting more diverse and resilient tree species and better designed woodlands in the face of a changing climate.

He said: “Now and in the long-term, we need a wider range of tree species and age profiles across the country. This targeted approach will ensure the long-term resilience of our precious woodlands." 

FR had previously revised the Scottish total to just over 8,000 ha, saying that was derived from improvements in computer modelling, updated mapping and through citizen science, where woodland owners had provided on the ground data.

Today's figures also include data from later winter storms Corrie, Malik, Dudley, Eunice and Franklin. While damaging, these proved to have significantly less impact, affecting around 578 ha in the three nations. Scotland, with 514 ha of damage, made up the majority of this. 

The damage from Storm Arwen in England occurred predominately in commercially important woodlands in the north east of England and in and around Kielder Forest.

A total of £700,000 of additional funding has also been allocated to Forestry England in the north of England to help support the repair of damaged recreation infrastructure which is vital to supporting local tourism and the leisure economy in the area.