Enlarging the Welsh Government’s woodlands and improving their condition and diversity are among the priorities announced in a report today/next week.
The report by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) will be launched by Hannah Blythyn, Minister for Environment on NRW’s stand at the Royal Welsh Show on 24 July.
NRW manages the woodlands in Wales that are owned by Welsh Ministers on behalf of the nation. They cover an area of 126,000 hectares – that’s 6% of Wales - which supplies approximately 50% of all timber in Wales.
As well as timber, the estate is used to develop renewable energy schemes, create and maintain trails and visitor facilities, and conserve habitats, wildlife and archaeological treasures to name but a few.
Last month, the Minister announced her vision for all woodlands in Wales in a refreshed Woodlands for Wales strategy.
Now NRW has identified ten key priorities for the Welsh Government woodland estate to help deliver this strategy in the next 25 years.
Amongst the priorities are:
- Increasing the size of the woodland area on the estate
- Improving its condition and diversity, allowing it to adapt to extreme weather events and climate change and be more resilient to pests and diseases
- Providing renewable energy
- Developing access and recreation opportunities
- Working with a wider range of partners on projects that deliver positive environmental, economic, health and wellbeing outcomes Supporting research and development and test innovative approaches, including nature-based solutions
Hannah Blythyn said:
“Our woodlands are a great natural asset to Wales. They’re vital to our environment, from helping protect against flooding and improving air quality to providing shelter for livestock. They produce resources for key Welsh industries and beautiful recreational spaces which are good for our health and well being.
Natural Resources Wales manages the Welsh Government Woodland Estate on behalf of the people of Wales This statement sets out why we need a public forest estate and restates our commitment to develop our woodlands for the long term, complementing our newly refreshed strategy, ‘Woodlands for Wales’
I’d like to thank NRW’s staff for their continued hard work in caring for and improving our woodland estate day in, day out, all year round.”
Clare Pillman, NRW’s Chief Executive added:
“Our woodlands are hugely important, providing timber for industry, jobs, a range of habitats for wildlife and great leisure opportunities for people which boost their wellbeing.
“This report sets out a clear purpose and role for the Welsh Government woodland estate and ten key priorities for a bright future.
“The Minister’s ambition that the woodland area on the estate will be bigger in 25 years than it is today is a resounding endorsement of the role that woodlands play in Wales’ well-being.
“We are ready to rise to a challenge which will boost confidence in the forest sector in Wales and beyond, supporting jobs and enterprise which are an essential component of a prosperous rural economy.”