The National Forest Company aspired to accurately map England’s woodland landscape in order to better understand and plan for wildlife in future.
However, the project faced a number of challenges:
- Developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) application with accurate mapping to model existing and potential woodland and other ecological networks.
- Analysing habitats and looking at the potential for plants and animals to thrive and expand within them.
- Ensuring vulnerable species such as smaller mammals and invertebrates don’t get stranded in fragmented habitats.
Joining the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) gave The National Forest access to OS MasterMap. This allowed the creation of a much more detailed habitat map with a level of spatial accuracy that couldn’t previously be achieved.
This meant habitat units could be based on OS MasterMap polygons rather than digitised by eye from raster maps.
- With access to OS MasterMap, The National Forest was able use more detailed, reliable mapping to analyse various ecosystems.
- Common features such as buildings, gardens and roads can be automatically identified.
- Digitising large areas of The National Forest now takes hours rather than days.
- Reliable monitoring, strong evidence, accurate reporting has helped to drive intelligent planning for wildlife.
- The National Forest saved hundreds of pounds a year saved in licence fees.