Nature Networks - information on nature projects

Nature Networks is a three-year programme funded by Welsh Government which aims to address the nature emergency in Wales through increasing biodiversity, improving the condition of protected sites and enhancing the resilience and connectivity of our habitats and species.

The programme runs from 2022 to 2025 and covers terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats. NRW is working with landowners, partners and other stakeholders to implement management measures that address our objectives and make a real difference to the environment of Wales.

The programme budget over three years is around £45 Million, funding a portion which NRW bids for annually as well as the Welsh Government Nature Network grant programme administered by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

While some of the budget has been allocated to boost our existing conservation management of protected sites, targeted projects have also been created to focus attention on vulnerable species and habitats.

Below are the nature projects on land – read about the marine projects.

Projects on land

Land Management Agreements

This project will develop agreements with landowners on SSSIs, with the aim of ensuring favourable management by paying for conservation measures such as grazing regimes, vegetation and non-native species removal, ditch management, and fencing.

National Nature Reserves

Work will be completed on Natural Nature Reserves, both managed by NRW and by partners. The aim will be to improve their condition, whilst improving and upgrading essential infrastructure, facilities and equipment needed for habitat and species management, e.g. fencing and livestock handling facilities.

Welsh Government Woodland Estate

We’ll be establishing ecological networks and developing habitat restoration works on and around ‘high nature conservation value’ sites on the Welsh Government Woodland Estate. The network areas are in the Wye Valley, Dyfi and Gwydyr forests. The work will include invasive non-native species control; scrub removal, coppicing, as well as hedgerow management and species work, particularly for dormice and bats.

Marsh fritillary butterflies and Grasslands

Grasslands are one of the most threatened habitats in Wales, with over 90% having been lost in the last century. This project, focused in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, will seek to restore and extend grassland habitats based on known marsh-fritillary population sites.

Coastal Sites

The focus of this project is on saltmarsh and sea cliff habitats, coastal grassland and coastal heathland. The initial focus of the work will be saltmarsh work in Carmarthenshire, Conwy estuary and the Severn and sea cliffs on the Llŷn peninsula and Ynys Mȏn.

Sand Dunes

The proposed work will be to restore priority sand dune habitats to make progress towards favourable conservation status for designated dune features across Wales on sites which are predominantly designated as SAC and SSSI. This funding will complement what is planned by the Dynamic Dunes and Sands of LIFE Projects.

Wood Pasture

Wood pasture is made up of a variety of habitats, including various grassland types, heathland, flush and bracken, interspersed with trees. Typical sites include Ffridd in the upland fringe and steeper slopes in the lowlands. As a habitat we need to improve our understanding of the condition and extent of sites across Wales as well as the conservation management measures needed.

Atmospheric Nitrogen

Ammonia emissions have been rising in Wales since approximately 2010 and today over 60% of sensitive vegetation experiences ammonia levels higher than it can tolerate. This is a 13% increase since 2010, the largest change recorded in the UK. The project will seek to target farm-based ammonia reductions near to sensitive sites by production of Site Nitrogen Action Plans (SNAPS) which can be delivered via the Welsh Government Sustainable Farm Scheme from 2025.

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