Uncertainty in forest planning is a prevailing problem affecting decision-making processes, especially those relating to climate change adaptation. Limited knowledge about uncertainty has prompted this empirical investigation of forest planners' understanding of uncertainty related to its recognition, its management and risk perception. We used a comprehensive uncertainty framework to address and test these uncertainties, with data from an online survey, to identify the views of 33 forest planners through Britain. Responses were analysed using non-parametric tests. The results showed that planners have significantly different views on uncertainty among economic, social and climatic categories. Uncertainty in the climatic category was more acutely perceived than in the economic and social categories. Planners preferred to practice active uncertainty management, as the results suggest they feel more able to manage uncertainty in forest models and their outcomes. Forest planners also indicated diverse perceptions of salient risks of change over the next 30 years. The results show they may take action only to pests, drought and wind risks posing a threat to forests even though they perceived these risks potentially to be highly regulated and controlled by forestry policies. The findings provide a better understanding of uncertainty as a source of inertia to climate change adaptation in forestry, identify new research objectives and support the development of forestry policies for climate change adaptation.