Southern Ebbw Forest Resource Plan

Location & Setting

The Southern Ebbw FRP covers 974 ha and is made up 11 woodlands located in Caerphilly, Newport, Torfaen, and Cardiff local authority areas, to the north of the M4 motorway.

The setting for the woodlands is a mixture of improved farmland, hedgerows, and other broadleaved woodlands, as well as some unimproved common near Caerphilly Woods.

The woodlands are close to large urban conurbations including Cardiff, Newport, and Caerphilly, with varying levels of informal recreation as a result.

Summary of objectives

The following management objectives have been agreed in order to maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems, and the benefits they provide:

Condition, Diversity and Resilience of the Woodland

  • Diversify the forest species composition to increase resilience to pests and diseases, and the effects of climate change, whilst building a robust forest for future generations.
  • Increase structural diversity through Low Impact Silvicultural management, and natural regeneration, where appropriate and consider the scale, size and timing of any clear fell, avoiding the felling of adjacent coupes.
  • Maintain and enhance areas of ancient semi-natural woodland and restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites through the gradual removal of conifers over time, using Low Impact Silvicultural Systems and thinning management where possible, in line with Ancient Woodland Management Plan. Remove stands of Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar where they are negatively impacting on Ancient Woodland restoration.
  • Increase areas identified for thinning within the 5-year thinning plan to enable LISS management and PAWS restoration.
  • Invest in forest infrastructure to provide better access to allow for more diverse management prescriptions within these Ancient Woodland sites in the future.
  • Increase the amount of standing and fallen deadwood across the area through appropriate management practices during felling operations and ongoing management in line with Deadwood Management Plan for Welsh Government Woodland Estate.
  • Plan for the removal any of any remaining areas of significant larch under the Larch Reduction Strategy.
  • Where larch has been harvested, facilitate ancient woodland restoration. Restocking of these areas is a key priority to ensure that there is no net loss of forest cover.
  • Plan the size and timing of felling coupes and restocking to avoid negative impacts on current and future drinking water supplies and freshwater condition.

Sustainable timber production

  • Identify local opportunities to maintain a sustainable supply of timber production, both conifer and broadleaf, through design of felling and choice of restock species where the main management priority is not Ancient Woodland restoration.

Biodiversity

  • Utilise and improve the current road, ride and riparian network for the benefit of biodiversity by creating linkages with open habitat and opening up these areas to increase the amount of open space in the woodlands. Remove conifers along riparian zones where encroaching and over shading and maintain rides.
  • Use opportunities to connect broadleaved woodland to surrounding hedgerow and woodland habitats to improve resilience and connectivity.
  • Ensure woodland operations do not negatively impact on the section 7 species present in the FRP blocks and identify opportunities to enhance their habitats.
  • Ensure compliance with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive when undertaking operational activities by following best practice as outlined in the ‘UK Forest Standard - Forest and Water Guidelines’ to protect water quality and freshwater ecosystems within the forest. Maintaining and improving water quality is also essential for the conservation and protection of the ecosystems of the ‘Natura 2000’ designated sites downstream, particularly the River Usk SAC.

Social and Cultural

  • Consult with the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust prior to any operations in the 6 identified archaeological “hotspots” as provided by the Trust. All operations must comply with UKFS and UKWAS historic environment guidelines. In addition to the six identified “hotspots”, all other recorded features of interest should be identified, marked out, and avoided by any planned activities by a minimum of 10m.
  • Increase opportunities for the public to use rides and roads for recreation in addition to existing assets.
  • Reduce any potential impact of flooding through stakeholder engagement and good forestry practice, in accordance with The UK Forestry Standard: The government’s approach to sustainable forestry (2017); UKFS and Forestry Commission Practice Guide 25 Managing Forest Operations to Protect the Water Environment. Clear-felling above the Caerphilly area within The Warren will require involvement with NRW’s Flood Risk Management department.
  • Explore actions with our Public Service Board partners to develop effective collaborative, preventative interventions which reduce the threat of illegal activity including crime and anti-social behaviour on our estate
  • Work with our partners in Health and Social Care through Public Service Boards to identify how and where our estate resource can deliver nature-based solutions to health inequalities.
  • Explore building relationships with the Caerphilly Woodland Trust to facilitate appropriate management of the woodland adjoining Coed Y Werin SSSI.

Climate Change

  • Identify opportunities to undertake climate change adaptation actions during management operations.

Maps

Comments or feedback

Available on the Consultation Hub from 9th December 2020 to 13th January 2021.

If you have any comments or feedback, you can contact the Forest Resource Planning team at frp@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

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