Our forestry remit and areas for action

Leaves in a circle

With the establishment of Natural Resources Wales, the responsibilities for forestry in Wales and the UK saw a few changes. Natural Resources Wales inherited some key legal duties from the Forestry Commission to promote the interests of forestry in Wales, including new woodland creation and the production and supply of timber. This ‘general duty’ includes promoting the establishment and maintenance of adequate reserves of growing trees and an overall ‘balancing duty’, which is key to the delivery of Sustainable Forest Management.

We are also enabled to manage the land placed at our disposal by Welsh Ministers, known as the Welsh Government Woodland Estate. Additionally, we have a regulatory function to control the felling of trees in any quantity via the felling licence regime. We are the key partner helping Welsh Ministers to maintain and expand the Welsh Forest Resource and to support delivery of the outcomes described in Wales’s forest policy Woodlands for Wales. You can find out more about all of this by following the links.

Challenges we face

We recognise that, alongside others, we need to tackle some significant challenges:

  • Detecting and responding effectively to pests and diseases
  • Adapting to the impact of climate change on forests - making forest ecosystems more resilient - and continuing to improve woodland condition
  • Supporting jobs and growth in Welsh business - adding more value to the timber produced in Wales
  • Helping all of those with an interest in land management understand the positive role of forestry – focussing on actions to bring under-managed woodlands into management and to make real progress with new woodland creation
  • Working closely with communities so that we all have access to the benefits that flow from woodlands, especially in disadvantaged and urban areas
  • Managing the Welsh Government Woodland Estate to the desired standard in an era of reduced public funding

Addressing these challenges

Together with the Welsh Government, Confor and the Wales Forest Business Partnership we have agreed Ten Areas for Action to improve the way we do business and to help us address those challenges together. This Action Plan addresses actions arising from:

  • The National Assembly for Wales Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Inquiry into the management of the public forest estate
  • Recommendations of the 'Cooper Report' (the views of forest businesses in Wales)
  • Outstanding actions from the Wales Audit Office report
  • Recommendations from the Confor and Wales Forest Business Partnership “Welsh Timber Supplies and Our Green Economy” workshop

Ten areas for action

  1. Improved quality of communication with forest sector
  2. Improved transparency on forestry regulation and compliance
  3. Improved transparency of forest facts and figures for timber production, forecasting and supply
  4. Improved management of timber production and supply from the Welsh Government Woodland Estate and the Welsh Forest Resource
  5. Recognition of Woodland for Wales outcomes and the forest sector when taking forward Integrated Natural Resource Management and an ‘ecosystems approach’ to decision making
  6. Set out the role and purpose of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate and its strategic priorities to best deliver Welsh Government policy priorities
  7. Improve support for the forest sector to deliver against Welsh Government policy priorities through well targeted funding, advice and guidance
  8. Promote the interests of forestry
  9. Provide assurance of sufficient forestry skills in Natural Resources Wales
  10. Reporting on progress

If you would like to contact the Sustainable Forest Management Team in Natural Resources Wales you can send your enquiry to sfmt@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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