How many trees are in the uk

Woodland Statistics - Forest Research

The latest National Statistics on woodland produced by Forest Research were released on 29 September 2022 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

  • The area of woodland in the UK at 31 March 2022 is estimated to be 3.24 million hectares. This represents 13% of the total land area in the UK, 19% in Scotland, 15% in Wales, 10% in England, and 9% in Northern Ireland.
  • Of the total UK woodland area, 0.86 million hectares is owned or managed by Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales or the Forest Service (in Northern Ireland).
  • The total certified woodland area in the UK at 31 March 2022 is 1.42 million hectares, including all Forestry England/Forestry and Land Scotland/Welsh Government Woodland Estate/Forest Service woodland. Overall, 44% of the UK woodland area is certified.
  • Around 14 thousand hectares of newly created woodland were reported in the UK in 2021-22.
  • Around 15 thousand hectares of publicly funded woodland restocking were reported in the UK in 2021-22.
  • Woodland Carbon Code projects in the UK that were validated (including those that were also verified) at 31 March 2022 were predicted to sequester a total of 6.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime of up to 100 years. This represents 5.5 million tonnes in Scotland, 1.1 million tonnes in England, 230 thousand tonnes in Wales and 11 thousand tonnes in Northern Ireland.

Provisional Woodland Statistics – statistics notice (data to 31 March 2022)

Provisional Woodland Statistics – tables (data to 31 March 2022)

A: Woodland area (ods)

B: Certified woodland area (ods)

C: New planting and publicly funded restocking (ods)

D: Woodland Carbon Code projects (ods)

Coverage: United Kingdom

Geographical breakdown: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Quality: Quality report: Woodland Statistics

Statistician: Simon Maxwell


Tel: 0300 067 5997

Email: [email protected]

Next update

15 June 2023

Provisional data for the year to 31 March 2023 will be published in Provisional Woodland Statistics 2023.

Pre-release access

Information on pre-release access to this publication can be found in the pre-release access page.

Additional Resources


More detailed information on the methodology for estimating woodland area is provided in the sources chapter of Forestry Statistics 2021. The estimates make use of the National Forest Inventory data. Further information (including reports) can be found on the National Forest Inventory page.

Previous releases

  • Provisional Woodland Statistics 2021
  • Provisional Woodland Statistics 2020
  • Provisional Woodland Statistics 2019

Prior to the 2019 edition of Provisional Woodland Statistics, the reported figures were published in two separate releases:

  • Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking; and
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics (previously released on a quarterly basis).

Early provisional results for UK woodland area, certified woodland area and areas of new planting and publicly funded restocking were provided in the First Release Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking published every June:

  • Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2018 Edition
  • Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2017 Edition
  • Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2016 Edition
  • Woodland Area, Planting and Restocking: 2015 Edition

Woodland Carbon Code releases provided statistics for projects registered under the Woodland Carbon Code and were released quarterly until Spring 2018:

  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to March 2018; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to December 2017; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to September 2017; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to June 2017; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to March 2017; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to December 2016; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to September 2016; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to June 2016; EXCEL
  • Woodland Carbon Code Statistics: Data to March 2016; EXCEL

User engagement

In order to improve the statistics that we produce and to ensure that they remain relevant, we are interested in hearing from people who use our statistics. More information on how we consult users and contact details can be found on our user engagement page.

England's woodlands growing to 1,000-year record total | UK news

There are now 25 trees for every person in England and oaks have become the country's commonest species, according to a domesday book of the country's trees published yesterday by the forestry commission.

By 2020, there should be more woods in England than when William the Conquerer first ordered a count in 1086, when it was estimated that trees covered 15% of the country.

The turnaround in the fortunes of English woodland has been remarkable since the last count in 1980, with hundreds of new woods being planted. This was partly in response to the national shock of the great gale of 1987, which flattened millions of trees across the south-east in a single night, and the drive to replace legions of elm trees that were killed by Dutch Elm beetles.

There are still more than 1m dead elms standing in the countryside, with a large number of saplings struggling to survive, although there are no mature trees. Many oaks have been planted as part of woodland schemes and numbers have increased by 19% in the past 20 years.

In contrast, the number of conifer plantations has fallen by 7%, mainly because a change in forestry commission policy: from planting ranks of closely packed fir trees for timber production to open mixed woodland, mostly of broad-leafed trees. These are also for timber but promote recreation, access and tourism, and are good for wildlife. Forestry is also used for restoring former industrial land.

There are now strict controls on felling woods without an immediate replanting clause, and a series of fresh schemes including a new national forest in the Midlands centred on old mining districts. Farmers are also able to get grants for planting trees on set-aside land.

There are now about 1.3bn trees in England, covering 8.4% of its land area, compared with 7% in 1980, and this area is increasing by about 20,000 acres a year.

The new count was done by taking a series of aerial photographs and dividing them into grids. All large woods were visited and sample areas were counted on the ground to estimate the total trees and species. Ash, sycamore and sweet chestnut have also been planted extensively.

Despite this, England is still one of the least wooded countries in Europe, which has an average of 36% forest cover. Although the last Conservative government had a target to double England's tree cover, Labour has no target, except a continuous increase which should pass William's domesday total in the next 20 years.

There are no comparative figures for Scotland and Wales, where most plantings are still large conifer forests.

Surrey is the most densely wooded county in England, with more than one-fifth of its land area covered by trees.

The south-east corner of Britain has always had more trees than the rest of the UK and has 14.1% woodland, compared with the Yorkshire and Humber area, which has only 6%.

This is far better than 100 years ago, when vast swaths of the country had virtually no trees. In 1895, a low point for trees in English history, there was less than 5% tree cover and an area stretching from the Wash to the Scottish border and across to the west coast in Lancashire and Cumbria had less than 2% tree cover.

Elliot Morley, the forestry minister, launching the national inventory yesterday at the start of National Tree Week said: "The government is committed to re-expansion of England's woodlands to deliver the widest possible benefits, jobs, wood for our daily needs, new habitats for wildlife, and places for everyone to enjoy."

A leafier landscape:

· There are 55,685 woods larger than two hectares

· In 1870 only 4.8% of the country was covered in trees, compared with 15% in 1086. By 2000 the figure had risen to 8.4%

· There are 1.3bn trees - 25 for every person in England

· Oaks comprise the largest area of woods, at 157,494 hectares, an increase of 19% in 20 years

· Total broadleaf woods, including beech, sycamore, birch, poplar and sweet chestnut, have grown by 36% since 1980. The number of conifers has fallen by 7% over the same period

· The forestry commission owns 22% of woodland

· Surrey is the most wooded county, with more than one-fifth of land covered in trees

No forest, no kingdom: how England ran out of timber and began the era of coal

hydropower - to the steam engine, from the internal combustion engine - to the electric motor. With the permission of Azbuka-Atticus publishing house, Forbes Life publishes a chapter from the book "Energy"

In his landmark book, Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Rhodes recounts the events and achievements that underpinned all of the revolutionary transitions in energy and transportation, from animal power and hydropower to the steam engine, from the internal combustion engine to the electric motor. Exploring the directions of development of technical thought and the lessons that mankind has learned in the process of conquering the forces of nature, Rhodes answers the question of how we managed to make changes and turn the possibilities inherent in them to our advantage. A brilliant overview of key events in the history of energy over four centuries, the logical outcome is a panorama of the current energy landscape, including renewable energy production and nuclear power issues. The presentation is closely related to topics such as the risk of global warming and the rapid growth of the world's population, which by 2100 should reach ten billion people. The book is intended for anyone who cares about human impact on the environment and the future of the world.

“The current debate [about climate change] barely touches on the richest human aspect of history, the root of modern energy problems. One of the goals I set for myself when I wrote Energia is to fill this gap - people, events, dates, places, methods, examples, analogies, defeats and victories - to enliven the discussion and clarify possible solutions. . (Richard Rhodes).

Saturday 28 December 1598 The day was cold and grey; it's snowing. For forty-one years, the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England and Ireland, has lasted. At the very edge of the city of London, in the district of Holywell, in the courtyard in front of the old Theatre, workers gather: their beards are in the snow; they stamp their boots and clap their mittened hands to keep warm. They call to each other, ale on their hot breath. It's time to get down to business, and immediately: even on holidays you need to earn your few shillings. There is not enough wood in London - the forests surrounding the city have already been stripped to the skin. Workers were hired to dismantle the Theatre, London's first theatre, and move its dismantled frame to the warehouse of the head carpenter Peter Street, standing on the banks of the Thames, at the very Bridewell Descent. Everything is clear, some winked. Transport? Stealing an entire building right from under the nose of an absent landowner - that's what they were hired for! However, the final decision on who rightfully owns the Theater will be made only after many years of litigation. The Burbage brothers, Shakespeare's partners in the theatrical business, considered themselves to be the rightful owners. After all, they built the theater building in 1576. Let the land remain with the landowner - and they will dismantle their theater and re-erect it in a new place!

The landowner Giles Allen, then on his estate in Essex, subsequently argued in court that his servants, whom he sent to stop work (and, mind you, sent with official power of attorney), were driven away with threats by armed men. The screams attracted a crowd of curious people. The Burbage brothers were present on the scene that day. Shakespeare was there too. It was urgent to move the theater - otherwise where would their troupe perform? Allen threatened that he would demolish the theater himself and build tenement houses out of the wood left over from it - that is, housing for rent.

Burbage workers dismantled the wooden building and removed the beams on carts. Two days before, the troupe had played in the presence of the Queen at Whitehall Palace. On New Year's Eve they were to give another performance there. Between two performances, the theater was dismantled.

In the spring of 1599 it was rebuilt on the other side of the Thames, in the wild Southwark. The theater expanded, received a new name - "Globe" - and turned into a three-story octagon about 30 meters in diameter. A wide central courtyard, located in the open air, was surrounded by an annular thatched roof. But where did the wood come from to expand the theater? Most likely, Peter Street mined it in the forest near Windsor, west of London. The trunks were cleared of branches and tops, sanded and hewn right at the felling site, so as not to float whole trees down the Thames - this would have cost more. On the evening of 21 September 159On 9 AD, the Swiss traveler Thomas Platter was present at the new Globe, where the tragedy Julius Caesar was being shown, so that by that day the theater had already opened. In Platter's opinion, the play was "performed with great skill".

Elizabethan England was built of wood. “The buildings in the good towns and cities of England,” reported the Elizabethan chronicler William Harrison in 1577, “are for the most part of wood alone.” Even the tools of labor of that time, plows and hoes, were made of wood, and they were only bound with iron. London was a wooden city, made up of gabled-roofed, timber-framed houses, and was heated by wood burned in open stone hearths in the middle of the rooms. The sweet smoke of a burning tree spread throughout the house and went out through the windows.

But wood was getting more expensive; its price rose as the population of London increased, and lumberjacks brought firewood into the city from more and more distant places. In 1581, Parliament took steps to ease this situation somewhat: a law was passed prohibiting the production of charcoal for iron smelting within a radius of 22 km from London, in order to save local trees for heating homes. Nevertheless, from 1500 to 1592, the price of firewood delivered to the city more than doubled - and along with it, the population boomed, increasing during the 16th century. quadrupled, from 50,000 to 200,000. The population of England as a whole increased during the same century from 3.25 million to 4.07 million.

Some modern economists doubt that England was running out of timber. When the Burbages and their company moved the frame of the Theater and built a new, larger Globe on the banks of the Thames, they sought to save not only wood, but also time and money. In addition, whatever you say, wood is a renewable resource. However, many government officials, parliamentarians and private observers of the XVII-XVIII centuries. there was a scarcity of timber, especially large oaks suitable for making ship masts.

Warships of that time were as valuable to the security of the country as today's aircraft carriers. It took about 2,500 large oak trunks to build an average English battleship. It became a magnificent wooden fighting machine, massive and durable, 15 m wide and 60 m long. Two rows of cannons mounted on movable wooden carriages protruded from its convex yellow sides. The decks were painted a dull red so that the blood that had flowed in battles was not so conspicuous. To set the sails on the ship, at least 23 masts, yards and topmasts were made, from an almost forty-meter mainmast, which weighed 18 tons, to a miniature fore-bram-ray, a light seven-meter pole. The patriots said that the Royal Navy was the "wooden walls" of England, protecting it from invasion. The Admiralty provided for the construction and maintenance of about a hundred battleships, as well as several hundred smaller ships and boats. They were destroyed by battles and woodworms; in ten to twenty years, such a ship required replacement.

But it took 80 to 120 years for a tree suitable for making a large mast to grow to the required diameter. The landowner who planted the acorn might hope that his grandchildren or great-grandchildren could sell the grown oak tree—if only the intervening generations could wait long enough. Many could not - and did not wait. The timber trade promised easy money; landowners down to the king himself resorted to it every time their purses showed a bottom. The second Earl of Carnarvon, a well-known wit, told a friend of the memoirist Samuel Pepys that the forest was "an outgrowth on the earth, given by God to pay debts."

Twisted low-growing wood - "kokory", as the sailors called such wood - played no less important role in shipbuilding than straight trunks needed to make masts. Curvilinear and branched single blanks for keels, sternposts and frames of ship hulls were obtained from these huge curved oaks. Such a tree has always been rare and, accordingly, expensive. But as a result of the so-called "fencing" in medieval England - the privatization and consolidation of communal fields for sheep pastures in the interests of large landowners - almost all the twisted trees were cut down. The search for a suitable part for the ship sometimes took whole years.

But it wasn't just the Royal Navy that used up the forests of England. By the 1630s about three hundred iron smelters operated in the country, annually burning 300,000 loads of wood into charcoal, and each load corresponded to one large tree. Building and maintaining the even more numerous merchant ships in Britain required three times as much oak as naval shipbuilding.

Forest - especially oaks - contested arable land from crops. Large trees needed deep fertile soil, but such land was more profitable to cultivate: they were sown with plants suitable for food. Thomas Preston, an official from Suffolk County, considered the mighty forests to be the lot of the primitive, "the old age", in which the kingdom "greatly abounded with oak." The fewer oaks, he argued, the higher the level of development of the kingdom, "and this is a thousand times more valuable than any timber." Preston hoped that this decline would continue: “If we are forced to feed people with foreign wheat, and horses with foreign oats, why should we grow oaks? . . In no case should we regret the lack of forest, for this is a sure sign of the development of the country. As for the needs of the Royal Navy, worthy and even the only possible nurseries for them are countries that have not yet emerged from the barbaric state.

These barbaric countries included North America, especially the colonies in New England, where the settlers at that time were just beginning to harvest timber from the primeval forests. And since 1650, it was from there that the Admiralty received for its warships strong masts made of solid logs, 40 meters in length and from a meter to one and a half in diameter. Meanwhile, in the colonies, competition began - the struggle for wood. In 1663, long before the British stopped sawing logs by hand and switched to waterwheel sawmills, the first American sawmill began operating on Salmon Falls in New Hampshire. By 1747, there were already 90 such water sawmills, and logs were transported by 130 bullock carts. In total, the Americans annually cut about 6 million board feet of wood, which was sold in Boston, the West Indies and other places. 18th century historian Daniel Neal noted in A History of New England that Piscatacqua was "the most important mast trading place in all the king's dominions."

Unfortunately for the Royal Navy, 30 years later a revolution took place in America that ended the supply of American white pine. The fleet had to return to the previously mastered means - "composite masts", less durable, assembled from several trunks tied around a central beam.

In England, not only coal was made from firewood for iron smelting. Wood was felled for the construction of houses, barns and fences, for the production of glass and refining lead, for the construction of bridges, docks, locks, canal barges and fortresses, for the production of barrels for beer and cider ... Many of these industries consumed wood no less than the navy. Even persons of royal blood were seen mistreating the royal forests with the full connivance of Parliament. “The final destruction of the forests,” concludes the historian, “was the result of constant neglect and abuse.”

Arthur Standish, the Jacobian agronomist who published The Commons Complaint in 1611 under the auspices of King James I, was concerned not so much with the needs of the Royal Navy as with "the widespread destruction and waste of forests." However, among the shortages that he foresaw, he also mentioned "forest ... for navigation." And in his stern account of the aftermath, he paraphrased one of the royal speeches delivered in Parliament and concluded: "So, it can be assumed: there will be no forest, there will be no kingdom."

The fuel problem was solved by a cheap alternative: coal could be burned—“marine” or “quarry,” as the Elizabethans called it, to distinguish it from charcoal. Initially, the word coal (coal) called any smoldering pieces of fuel; hence the names char-coal (lit. “burnt coal”) for burned wood, as well as sea coal (“sea coal”) or pit coal (“quarry coal”) for fossil fuels, depending on where it was mined from: natural exits on headlands above the sea - or from underground. In 1577, in an article in the Elizabethan Chronicle of Holinshed, Harrison noted that Central England was already turning to fossil fuels: “As for the coal mines, they are so abundant in the northern and western parts of our island that they would suffice and for the whole kingdom of England." Coal has served blacksmiths for many centuries. It was also used by soap makers; and kilns, preparing quicklime for plastering in their kilns; and salt pans, when they evaporated sea water in open iron vats - for a long time, spending a huge mass of coal: in this way they obtained the salt necessary for storing food in an era that did not yet know refrigeration technology.

But the coal, mined in Central England, gave off acrid smoke and smelled of sulfur, and therefore it was not favored in everyday life, in houses where meat was roasted on an open fire, without chimneys. “Lovely ladies of London,” as the chronicler calls them, did not even want to enter such houses. In 1578, even Elizabeth I herself complained about the stench of coal smoke wafting into the Palace of Westminster from a nearby brewery, and in the same year sent at least one brewer to prison for such insolence. The frightened guild of brewers agreed to burn only firewood near the palace.

Like nuclear energy in the 20th century, in the 16th and 17th centuries, coal was feared—and rightfully so. Coal was considered poison, primordial filth, even the product of the devil: “... it is poisonous when burned in dwellings,” the historian sums up the prejudices of the Elizabethan era, “and ... it is especially harmful to the complexion. Its use was considered the cause of all kinds of ailments. In addition, the black stone, extracted from underground deposits and burning with fetid hellfire, as if the excrement of the devil himself, as his preachers branded, was harmed by its connection with mining, an industry that had long been cursed by priests and poets. The tone for these curses was set by Geoffrey Chaucer in the short poem "The Childhood of Man" written about 1380:

Then metals began to be mined,
To sink ever deeper into the darkness of the earth
And pearls, discovering their pleasantness,
To fish out of the bowels of the sea.
(From here on, both greed and gloating,
And envy are the sources of human troubles).

In 1556, the German humanist doctor George Agricola, who lived in the mining town of Joachimsthal, published a treatise On Metallurgy (De re metallica), in which he recounted the arguments of the opponents of mining and quoted Ovid, who condemned mining in similar terms. The Roman poet, according to Agricola, argued that people eternally penetrate “... into the womb of the earth; // Those that were hidden by the earth, pushed aside to the shadows of Stygium, // They began to dig for riches, an impulse to every evil! // With harmful iron, then iron is the most harmful gold // War came into the world, which destroys both gold and iron.

A century after Agricola, mining was still condemned by John Milton, linking it in the first book of Paradise Lost with the fallen angel Mammon: : a sure sign

Works of sulfur, ore deposits
In the depths of the bowels. Flying Legion
Hurrying there. So they rush at a gallop,

Ahead of the main troops,
Sappers, with a load of picks and shovels,
To strengthen the royal camp in advance

Trench and embankment. Unit
Mammon leads; of the fallen Spirits, he is
less exalted of all. His greedy gaze
He was also in the Kingdom of God before
He was turned to the lowly and there
Not by the contemplation of blessed shrines

He was captivated, but by the riches of Heaven,
Where gold was trampled underfoot.
He set an example for people, taught them
Search for treasures in the womb of mountains
And plunder sacred treasures,

Who would be better off forever
Stay in the bosom of mother earth.

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Whatever the case with pilgrimage, the Elizabethans did not have enough wood, so they began to mine and burn coal. At the same time, in order not to suffocate, they needed chimneys - to bring the smoke out. As chronicler Harrison writes, the old men in his village noticed that there were more chimneys, "whereas in the days of their youth there were only two or three, not more." Harrison himself considered these innovations dubious and even disastrous:

Now we have many chimneys, and yet our children complain of runny noses, catarrhs ​​and colds; and in ancient times we had only open hearths, but our heads never ached. For at that time smoke was not only considered sufficient to strengthen the beams of houses, but was also famous as a much better medicine, keeping good men and their households from hoarseness and colds, known in those days only to a few.

Correspondingly, the supply of coal from Newcastle, a growing coal port on the River Tyne in the north-east of England, from the middle of the 16th century. by 1625 increased from about 35,000 to 400,000 tons. In two generations, concludes historian John Ulric Neef, "the coal trade from Newcastle grew twelvefold."

In 1603, when Queen Elizabeth I died at the age of sixty-nine, the Scottish King James VI went to London in a slow procession, uniting the Scottish and English crowns under the name of James I. The Scots plagued the forests of their country for a hundred years before the British. They were already accustomed to burning bituminous coal, and fortunately for them, the hard Scottish coal burned cleaner and brighter than the soft bituminous coal from Newcastle. The sulfur content in Scottish anthracite was only 0.1%, while in English bituminous coal it was from 1 to 1.4% [23]. Unfortunately, Scottish anthracite burned faster and was therefore more expensive. But the king's expenses did not bother him: good Scottish coal was brought to Westminster to heat his palaces. In imitation of the king, wealthy Londoners adopted this habit; began to burn coal and the middle classes. It kept Londoners warm and well fed, and the city's population grew rapidly, from about 200,000 in 1600 to 350,000 by 1650.

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There are a lot of forests, swamps and rivers: Four amazing facts about Britain

  • Mark Iston
  • BBC


Sprinkle on our spray ” ”: she will help you sort out the events.

For a decade, satellites have photographed the territory of Great Britain, and the researchers compared them with maps and classified: here - pastures, there - glaciers, here - the skyscrapers of the City of London.

The results of this project, funded by the European Union, have made it possible, more than ever, to give an accurate answer to the question of the scale of urban encroachment on nature. The results were unexpected.

Below are four facts that refute the traditional view of the British and tourists about the country.

One of the key concepts for this study is "continuous urban development". These are territories built up by 80-100%. A fifth can be occupied by private gardens and small parks, but the rest is covered in asphalt and concrete. According to this indicator, the City of London - the central business district of the British capital - is confidently leading - 98%.

1. Only 0.1% of the area is fully developed

Many believe that cities are on the rise, but it turns out that continuous urban development is rare in the British Isles. The grass is greener here than we think.

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2. Only 5.3% of the territory is partially built up

Lands on which buildings occupy at least half of the territory, but not more than 80%, fall into this category.

If the 5.3% figure seems too low, other sources can be consulted.

The National Survey of the UK Ecosystem, for example, shows that the kingdom as a whole has 1% of land built on, while densely populated England has 2%.

Buildings - houses, shops, factories, greenhouses and offices - cover 1.4% of the land, according to the Ordnance Survey, a state mapping agency, and in England this figure is slightly higher, but still does not exceed 2%.

It turns out that the built-up area in the UK is smaller than the area that the sea exposes at low tide.

Image copyright Getty Images

So some complain that the UK is gradually being rolled into asphalt and concrete.

According to the results of a European study, British lands were divided into 44 categories depending on their use. For clarity, we have classified them into four groups:

  • agricultural land - pastures, orchards, vineyards
  • wilderness - forests, lakes, moorlands, marshes
  • buildings - houses, roads, airports, quarries
  • urban green spaces - parks, gardens, golf clubs, football fields

And what happened?

Most of the British land is given over to agriculture - 57%.

About a third is wildlife. Here you can argue, because on the moorlands, for example, cattle graze.

Learn more