Ecosystem resilience field guide

About this guide

The purpose of this guide is to highlight the importance of ecosystem resilience and encourage practical action that can be taken to build it across Wales. It contains examples of the many and varied actions that we need to do more of. Many of the highlighted actions are not new. Our challenge is to ensure that actions are adopted in combination rather than singularly, and to rapidly increase the area of land managed with resilience in mind. The more action we take the more resilient our ecosystems will become, and the more likely that the ecosystem services, upon which we all depend for our well-being, will be secured. From policy and decision makers to land managers, public bodies and householders, everyone has a part to play.

What is ecosystem resilience and why is it important?

An ecosystem is a group of inter-connected organisms (animals, plants and microbes) and their physical environment found in a particular area, for example mountains, rivers or woodlands. Ecosystem resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to deal with pressures and demands, either by resisting, recovering or adapting to them whilst retaining their ability to deliver ecosystem services and benefits now and into the future. A resilient ecosystem shows a good level of:

  • Diversity - at a variety of different levels and scales, including genetic diversity, species diversity, diversity within and between ecosystems and structural diversity for example.
  • Extent - where its area is sufficiently large to sustain populations, support ecological processes and cope with negative edge effects like predation.
  • Condition - where the impacts of pressures and demands are positively managed so that the physical environment can support a comprehensive range of organisms and healthy populations.
  • Connectivity - where organisms can move within and between different ecosystems, from foraging or migration of individuals, through dispersal of seeds and genes, to the major shifts of species’ populations to adjust to a changing climate.

Ecosystem resilience comes about as a result of an interplay between these aspects, allowing ecosystems to adapt, recover and resist pressures and demands more readily.

Why should we care about resilience?

Resilient ecosystems provide many ecosystem services upon which we all rely for our continued existence. These services are often hidden from view but they underpin our well-being including our prosperity, health, culture and identity. Resilient ecosystems maintain a genetic library, preserve and regenerate soil, fix nitrogen, recycle nutrients, control floods, mitigate droughts, filter pollutants, assimilate waste, pollinate crops, operate the hydrological cycle and store carbon.

The Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Environment (Wales) Act recognise that we have a duty to maintain and enhance the resilience of our ecosystems for our own continued existence and for future generations. This duty is reflected in many policies including the Welsh Government’s Natural Resource Policy, Planning Policy Wales and the Nature Recovery Action Plan.

How resilient are ecosystems in Wales?

Biodiversity (the variety of all life on earth) is a key indicator of ecosystem health and resilience but has seen an overall 60% decline in species across the globe since 1970. The United Nations predict that one million of the eight million species on the planet will be extinct by 2039.

The State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR), required under the Environment (Wales) Act, provides us with a regular assessment of the extent to which ecosystem resilience is being achieved in Wales. SoNaRR (2020) tell us that in Wales:

  • Most semi-natural habitats have seen a reduction in diversity over the last 100 years, with the rate of decline increasing from the 1970s onwards.
  • Only 31% of the country contains semi-natural habitat. At least 40% of Welsh semi-natural habitats are spread out in such small patches that this implies low resilience.
  • Very few semi-natural habitats are reported as being in good condition due to several pressures. Freshwater habitats, for example, are mainly affected by nutrient enrichment and physical modifications.
  • Connectivity is at its lowest in lowland semi-natural habitats, where the landscape has been simplified by the loss of semi-natural habitats, and intensively managed land dominates.

SoNaRR also tells us that the well-being of humans in Wales, and around the planet, is threatened by ecological and environmental breakdown. Time is running out to respond to this crisis and avoid a catastrophic situation for Wales and the world. Building the resilience of ecosystems needs to form the basis of a swift and immediate response.

What is affecting ecosystem resilience?

The ecosystems and landscapes of Wales are beautiful, dynamic places that have been shaped by human settlement and management practices over hundreds and thousands of years. Its climate, landform, habitats and soils have been modified by intertwined factors including cultural practices, societies’ need for food and timber products, government policy priorities, and market forces.

Some of the main pressures impacting the resilience of our ecosystems, as identified in SoNaRR, include:

  • Climate change, including more frequent and severe storms and heatwaves, resulting in more flooding, coastal and soil erosion and droughts, leading to a decline in the diversity, condition and extent of many of our ecosystems.
  • Agricultural intensification which has led to a dramatic decrease in the connectivity, diversity and extent of many ecosystems as more land has been brought under production, and as grazing, nutrient and chemical management has intensified.
  • Air pollution from industry, transport, and certain farming practices which causes enrichment, mainly as a result of nitrogen compound emissions. These pollutants harm soil and water quality, leading to a decline in condition and diversity across a number of ecosystems.
  • Water pollution which can occur from sewage and waste water discharge, rainwater flushing pollutants from buildings and roads, runoff from poor land management practices and contaminated mine discharge, leading to a decline in the condition and diversity of freshwater ecosystems.
  • Insufficient management of ecosystems, for example semi-natural grassland and certain semi-natural woodlands, that rely on low intensity or traditional management to maintain their condition and diversity.
  • Construction of flood defences, river sediment dredging and channel straightening which disconnect rivers from their catchments, limiting their natural, dynamic processes, reducing their condition and diversity.
  • Human development at our coastlines which artificially alter their natural, dynamic processes and reduces their extent, condition and diversity.
  • Invasive non-native species, pests and diseases which pose a threat to many ecosystems, reducing their diversity and condition. This is a particular problem in woodlands and freshwater environments.

Building Ecosystem Resilience in Wales

Wales is beginning to address the many pressures that affect the resilience of its ecosystems by using the well-being goals and ways of working under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, together with the Sustainable Management of Natural Resource principles from the Environment (Wales) Act to map out the route forwards. This will mean managing Wales’ natural resources and ecosystems to ensure that the benefits they provide for our social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being are available now and for future generations.

By taking individual and collective action to improve the resilience of our ecosystems, from woods, heathlands, wetlands and rivers to species rich grasslands and sand dunes, we can keep our land functioning, for the benefit of our wildlife, our food and timber crops and our own quality of life.

The following illustrates what landscapes in Wales could look like in 2050 if actions are taken now to enhance their ecosystem resilience. This thirty year time frame has been chosen to reflect the minimum length of time it can take to restore some ecosystems to a functioning state and so benefit from the services they provide.

Other ecosystems may require considerably longer periods of time to do this. The illustrations used are intended to showcase the types of interventions available in four broad landscape settings; “lowland”, “upland”, “coastal” and “urban”. Whilst these illustrations are based on photographs of actual places in Wales they are not intended to be viewed as recommendations for these specific locations, but to show what might be possible for the type of general landscape shown.

Building Ecosystem Resilience in the Lowlands

The lowlands of Wales are places where many people live, and where much of our food is produced. Aside from farmland and urban areas, they contain important areas of species rich grasslands, woodlands, heaths, rivers, lakes, ponds and wetland habitats. Each of these habitats has specific pressures acting upon them, and so a range of actions need to be undertaken to help to increase the overall resilience of lowland ecosystems.

We need to do more of the following actions as a priority to build ecosystem resilience in the lowlands:

  • Managing protected sites, for example Sites of Special Scientific Interest, to achieve favourable or favourable recovering condition and other areas containing priority habitats and supporting priority species in a similar way - maintains the condition of biodiversity hotspots.
  • Increasing the size of protected sites and priority habitats through habitat restoration and creation - enhances extent and improves the stability and reliability of many ecosystem services.
  • Planting new woodlands, and where appropriate bringing more woodlands back into planned management - increases extent, diversity and condition, reduces flood risk, stores carbon and provides recreational opportunities.
  • Reconnecting rivers with their floodplains - improves their condition, diversity and connectivity, helps to reduce flood and drought risks.
  • Tree planting to fill hedgerow gaps and create new hedgerows - improves habitat connectivity and diversity, stores carbon, protects soils and water, improves pest control.
  • Tree planting along water courses – improves their condition, diversity, extent and connectivity, protects water quality, stores carbon.
  • Soil management to conserve organic matter and prevent or remediate compaction - improves soil ecosystem condition and diversity, enhances crop yields and reduces farm costs whilst also reducing flood risk.
  • Managing nutrient inputs to prevent them running into streams and rivers – improves condition, reduces farm costs.
  • Sustainable farming, including an increased use of agroforestry and mixed-cropping systems, to maintain food production while maintaining and enhancing a range of other ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, flood regulation and carbon storage.

Typical lowland scene in 2021

A typical lowland scene where the land is divided into regular fields, bounded by hedgerows and some taller trees. All of the fields are managed in the same way, for pasture. In the foreground there is an unfenced, meandering river. In the background there are gentle hills and narrow strips of broadleaved woodland.

Envisaged lowland scene in 2050

The lowland scene has changed to feature much diversified land use within different fields; some of the fields still contain grass, whereas others contain different crop types, with field margins to provide wildlife corridors. A small orchard has been planted, and one field contains polytunnels for horticulture. The hedgerows bounding the fields are larger and bushier due to relaxed management. Some new field trees have been planted, and dead trees have been retained. The river is now fenced off from livestock, and habitat restoration has taken place along the river margins. In the background, new broadleaved woodland blocks have been planted.

Further actions to improve lowland ecosystem resilience

Simple actions:

  • direct-drilling and conservation tillage
  • regular soil testing
  • increasing slurry storage capacity
  • reducing the frequency of hedge cutting
  • applying nutrients only during favourable weather conditions
  • creating field margins, buffer strips and ponds for water storage
  • purchasing food and timber products with sustainable labels
  • precision farming for highly targeted nutrient application.

Adventurous actions:

  • land managers working collaboratively to improve habitat connectivity and extent
  • increasing the use of forest products for example in construction
  • modification or removal of river hard engineering structures e.g. weirs and flood defences (where appropriate)
  • re-introducing keystones species
  • providing enough space for rivers to move dynamically
  • developing certified schemes for ecosystem services and associated markets
  • phasing out chemicals and pesticides on land
  • switching to no-till/minimum tillage farming and agroforestry.

Lowland journey towards 2050

Trees planted to diversify farm income and provide shelter for grazing animals, improving animal welfare and storing carbon, increases habitat extent and diversity.

Woodlands managed to create a diverse range of tree ages, species and structural types, improving habitat condition and diversity.

Lowland habitats, like semi-natural grasslands and wetlands, restored and created to increase diversity, condition, extent and connectivity.

Continuous hedgerows and field margins provide corridors for wildlife movement, and carbon storage when managed sympathetically increases habitat connectivity.

A mixed farming model with diverse crop rotations together with livestock, agroforestry and orchards support wildlife as well as maintaining soil fertility and controlling pests and diseases, increases diversity and condition.

Riparian planting reduces soil erosion and sediment inputs into watercourses, provides beneficial shading and nutrients to watercourses, and improves condition.

Fencing watercourses creates a buffer strip to prevent stock access, reducing soil erosion and sediment inputs into watercourses, improving diversity and condition.

Building Ecosystem Resilience in the Uplands

The uplands of Wales are a highly valued landscape which receive many recreational visitors. They are a living landscape with a long history of management, and today hill farming communities play an important role in sustaining the Welsh language.

The uplands contain some of Wales’ more resilient ecosystems, important for their biodiversity and ability to mitigate climate change through capturing carbon. The way in which upland habitats are managed significantly affects downstream areas in particular with regards to water quality and flood risk. Therefore, increasing the resilience of upland ecosystems can provide benefits for many other ecosystems, communities and society. Priority actions we need to do more of include:

  • Increasing the diversity of grazing regimes, to include both sheep and cattle. Managing stocking levels to enhance upland ecosystem condition and diversity. This could involve either a decrease or increase in grazing from current levels.
  • Managing protected sites, for example Sites of Special Scientific Interest, to achieve favourable or favourable recovering condition and other areas containing priority habitats and supporting priority species in a similar way - maintains the condition of biodiversity hotspots.
  • Avoiding rotational burning, and combatting wildfires and arson to increase heathland extent and condition.
  • Increasing tree cover and managing run-off pathways in appropriate locations, to enhance freshwater habitat diversity, connectivity and condition, and reduce flood risk.

Typical upland scene in 2021

An upland scene featuring sheep grazing in the foreground. The grazed areas are very open in character, with some broken hedgerows and lines of trees. The central area is dominated by two large oblong blocks of single-species coniferous plantation. Interlocking spurs indicate the presence of a river valley. The hillside rises behind the forestry; across the peak moorland habitat is visible. Several small headwater streams cut through the steepest part of the slope. Surrounded by bracken.

Envisaged upland scene in 2050

The upland scene has changed to feature a greater diversity of grazing animals; both cattle and sheep. The grassland sward is rougher and more diverse, and two walkers are present, studying the area with binoculars. Pre-existing hedgerows have been restored so that they are continuous, and more bushy; new hedgerows and shelterbelts have been planted, including a cross-contour hedgerow. A pond has been created. Part of the coniferous plantation has been felled, having reached its harvesting age; the area has been re-planted with a mixture of native broadleaved species. In the background on the hilltop the moorland has been restored, and there is greater cover of heather. Trees have been planted and natural regeneration allowed to take place on the steep slopes alongside the headwater streams.

Further actions to improve upland ecosystem resilience

Simple actions:

  • leaky dams - structures made of natural trees across rivers which allow some water through - in headwaters
  • encouraging increased tree cover through natural regeneration where appropriate
  • grazing with traditional, hardy breeds
  • planting hedgerows and shelterbelts
  • blocking drains on peatland to restore the natural water balance.

Adventurous actions:

  • developing sustainable tourism and recreation opportunities
  • mine spoil stabilisation / remediation
  • switching to continuous cover forestry, where appropriate, with greater diversity of tree ages and species composition
  • developing certified schemes for ecosystem services and associated markets
  • land managers working collaboratively to improve habitat connectivity and extent
  • phasing out chemicals and pesticides on land
  • switching to no-till/minimum tillage farming and agroforestry.

Upland journey towards 2050

Peatland restoration, including drain blocking, increases habitat extent, improves habitat condition, reduces flood risk.

Managing woodlands in accordance with the UK Forestry Standard including, where appropriate, gradually increasing the proportion of broadleaved timber species; increases diversity, condition and extent.

Tree and heathland regeneration along headwaters; increases habitat diversity and connectivity, reduces overland flow and downstream flood risk.

Planting shelterbelts and hedges increases habitat connectivity and flood regulation, reduces soil erosion, improves water quality, improves livestock welfare in hot and cold weather.

Grazing with traditional, hardy breeds at levels that enhance sward diversity improves habitat condition, supports farming communities.

Creating ponds for water storage; increases the extent and connectivity of wetland habitats, provides improved water supply.

Building ecosystem resilience at the coast

Resilient coastal ecosystems are dynamic places, constantly changing due to natural processes of erosion and deposition of sand and sediment, and the gradual development of plant and animal communities. Coastal areas are the interface between the land and marine environment.

The coast is a place where people live and work, and provides places that are popular for recreation and tourism. Watercourses connect the sea to the high mountains, so actions far away can have a large effect on marine resilience. Priority actions to increase resilience that we need to do more of, within the framework of Shoreline Management Plans and River Basin Management Plans include:

  • Restoring sand dunes, saltmarsh and other coastal habitats to create a broader habitat strip; re-establishes natural transitions between land and sea, increases habitat extent, diversity, condition and connectivity, improves coastal defence and recreational opportunities.
  • Increasing the extent of saltmarsh habitat; stores carbon, provides natural flood defence.
  • Carrying out coastal adaptation to climate change; reduces coastal squeeze – the loss of shoreline habitats where they are prevented from moving inland by fixed sea defences as the sea level rises- and flood risk, enables coastal habitats to adapt naturally to sea level rise and erosion.
  • Managing stocking levels, involving either a decrease or increase in grazing from current levels as appropriate - to enhance habitat condition and diversity.
  • Reducing inputs of nutrients, chemicals and pathogens throughout river catchments, from source to sea; improves water quality and habitat condition.
  • Managing invasive non-native species to reduce their impacts on diversity, condition and extent.
  • Restoring sand dune dynamism through turf stripping and sand scraping, notching - deliberate removal of sediment at the foot of a dune to introduce instability-, artificial rabbit warren creation and scrub clearance; improves condition and diversity.

Typical coastal scene in 2021

A coastal scene featuring a river estuary and narrow sand spit, separating the winding river channel from the sea. On one side of the river, sand flats and a small area of saltmarsh are visible. The other side is bordered by a golf course and sand dune vegetation stretching across part of the spit. In the background the land rises, and another river valley is indicated by the form of the hills. The coast curves around revealing hard cliffs. The land is divided into fields which are farmed up to the cliff edge. All of the fields are managed in the same way, for grass production. Some small hedgerows are present.

Envisaged coastal scene in 2050

The coast scene has changed to show a small amount of saltmarsh expansion across the sand flat. Part of the river bank on the opposite side has been allowed to erode by natural flow dynamics. Dune habitat restoration has taken place on the golf course, on the area adjoining the pre-existing dune habitat. In the midground, tree planting has taken place along the steep hillsides of the second river valley. Habitat restoration and regeneration has taken place along the border of the hard cliffs, to form a continuous habitat corridor along the cliff edge, with the farmed zone now moving ‘one field back’. There is greater diversity in the management of the agricultural fields. Hedgerows have been restored and planted around the field boundaries.

Further actions to encourage coastal ecosystem resilience

Simple actions:

  • maritime grassland and heathland restoration
  • extending habitats one field back from the coast
  • reintroduction of appropriate livestock grazing to areas where grazing has been abandoned
  • precision farming for targeted nutrient application

Adventurous actions:

  • managed realignment of the coast to create saltmarsh and other intertidal habitats and dune rejuvenation
  • reconnecting the natural floodplain
  • switching to no-till/minimum tillage farming and agroforestry
  • remediating pollution from abandoned mines.

Coastal journey towards 2050

Expanding and restoring existing coastal habitat areas including ‘one field back’ from the cliff edge increases extent, connectivity, and adaptability to changes from natural erosion processes by creating space for them to move inland.

Modifying flood defences (outside of areas where coastal defences are essential) to restore natural coastal erosion and deposition processes which sand dune, shingle and saltmarsh habitats rely on; this supports the adaptability of these habitats, which play a role in natural flood defence.

Improving the condition of estuarine habitats by taking a combination of actions upstream to stop nutrients and chemicals entering watercourses. Habitat and soil restoration, riparian tree planting and watercourse buffer strips all reduce overland flow, while increasing habitat extent, diversity and connectivity.

Building ecosystem resilience in our towns and cities

Our homes, towns and cities are intricately connected to the natural world. It can be easy to forget that urban ecosystems are connected to other ecosystems, from mountain to coast, through their utilisation of land and water resources far away for food, energy and water supply, and exporting pollutants into the air and waterways, where they are widely dispersed.

Therefore, increasing the resilience of urban ecosystems can have wider benefits for the resilience of ecosystems connected by geography or supply chains. In addition, semi-natural habitats and green areas in towns and cities are essential to our mental and physical wellbeing. Priority actions we need to do more of include:

  • Efficient use of water, energy and food; less wastage resulting in lower household costs, and reduction in pressures on ecosystem diversity, extent, condition and connectivity.
  • Increasing the diversity and wildlife value of amenity grassland and roadside verges, to support more wildflowers and pollinators; increases urban habitat diversity and connectivity.
  • Providing more accessible biodiverse green and blue space, for example through Green Infrastructure Strategies; improves flood and temperature regulation, increases recreational opportunities, increases urban habitat connectivity, diversity and extent.
  • Increasing opportunities for active travel and the integration of sustainable transport networks such as cycle paths, walking routes and public transport; increases connectivity and extent, reduces pressures including carbon emissions and nitric oxide, improves physical and mental health.
  • Increasing the use of timber in construction; improves condition and extent of woodland ecosystems and reduces carbon emissions.
  • Wildlife gardening practices such as gardening organically, creating ponds, bug hotels, hedgehog highways, bird boxes, leaving wild patches, planting for pollinators and other insects; increases urban ecosystem diversity, condition, extent and connectivity and helps improve physical and mental health.

Typical urban scene in 2021

An urban scene, featuring a predominantly residential area within a large town; houses line the streets in a series of terraces, and in the centre of the scene there is a community green lined with small trees around the edges, and a paved path running through the centre. In the foreground the regular, rectangular shaped gardens of a street of properties is visible. Some of the gardens are grassed, some contain an abundance of shrubs, and some are dominated by sheds and paved areas. In the background a dense strip of mature trees separates the residential streets from a large industrial unit behind. The trees line part of a trunk road on the left side of the image; along the right the trunk road is not tree-lined.

Envisaged urban scene in 2050

The urban scene has changed to show that a many of the houses, as well as the large industrial unit, now have solar panels on their roofs. There are also a number of green roofs and green walls in the residential zone. In the gardens, some paved areas are now vegetated. The community green now contains a community garden and Green Flag. Many of the streets are now equipped with electric charging points. In the background, one of the industrial units has been removed, and replaced with allotments. Trees have been planted along the right side of the trunk road, connecting with the pre-existing trees to create a continuous corridor.

Further actions to increase urban ecosystem resilience

Simple actions:

  • using water butts and peat free compost
  • insulating homes and work places
  • installing sustainable urban drainage systems
  • relaxing mowing regimes of amenity grassland
  • planting wildflowers and pollinator corridors
  • protecting existing street trees
  • planting new street trees aiming towards 20% canopy cover
  • seeking Green Flag awards for public open spaces
  • community gardens and allotments
  • using ultra low emission vehicles and providing charging points for these
  • investing in green bonds and pensions

Adventurous actions:

  • making new development climate neutral and biodiversity positive
  • retro-fitting existing building stock with low carbon heating solutions
  • 20 minute neighbourhoods – an urban design concept that helps residents meet most of their daily needs within a short walk from home
  • using digital technology to reduce the need for travel and shared mobility more generally

Urban journey towards 2050

Solar panels and ground/air source heat pumps reduce pressure on habitats for energy generation, supporting ecosystem extent and connectivity. They reduce household fuel bills for both heating and cooling.

Green roofs alleviate surface water flooding, keep buildings cooler, increase habitat extent and connectivity.

Planting street trees to provide summer cooling, improves habitat connectivity and air quality, and reduces flood risk.

Active transport networks such as cycleways, bridges and paths improve air quality, improving habitat condition and adaptability. They reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve health and connection to the natural environment.

Community gardens and allotments reduce pressure on habitats for food production (supporting habitat extent and condition), increase the diversity of the urban habitats, and support physical and mental health and wellbeing.

SuDS alleviate surface water flooding and pollution, enhance biodiversity and habitat connectivity, and provide accessible greenspace

Road verges, public green and blue space and private gardens are managed for pollinators and other biodiversity, improving urban habitat condition and connectivity, with reduced management costs.

Imagining a resilient future

Building more resilient ecosystems will bring benefits for people wherever they live. More resilient ecosystems will have a diversity of land use types and habitats, managed in a holistic way that considers all of the ecosystem services the land provides.

Our pathway to a sustainable future will need to include significantly increased efforts around conservation and restoration of our ecosystems. At the same time it will require effective actions that address climate change and other pressures, and for our economy to transition to sustainable production and reduced consumption patterns.

As we move towards 2050 the way in which we choose to use and manage land will increasingly be based on its ability to provide multiple ecosystem services, not just one or two; crops or timber for example. Not all land will be suited to providing all ecosystem services, but all land will have the potential to provide a variety of ecosystem services, and the effectiveness of these services will greatly depend upon the diversity, extent, condition and connectivity of the ecosystems found there.

In more resilient ecosystems we will see productive farmland and forestry with a greater diversity of crops. Farms will become more diverse and resilient businesses, integrating crops with livestock grazing agroforestry, recreation and tourism. There will be more trees, hedgerows and field margins throughout the landscape, increasing the connectivity between habitats, allowing the species they support to adapt to climate change, while improving livestock welfare.

Habitat restoration, good nutrient management, and grazing will increase species diversity and improve soil health; this will reduce machinery and fertiliser costs, while maintaining yields to ensure a plentiful and varied food supply.

Towns and cities will be much greener, with more street trees and accessible green spaces, providing more habitat that will reduce flood risk, and provide places for people to enjoy being outside in the fresh air. Community food growing will provide a source of cheap, local food and provide opportunities for people to socialise and be more active, bringing benefits for health and well-being.

Buildings will be better insulated, and powered by clean energy. Local schemes promoting energy and water efficiency, and reduced food waste will flourish. This will reduce household bills for food and utilities, and reduce the pressures placed on our natural resources, helping them recover their biodiversity. The switch away from fossil fuels will improve air quality, reducing health problems, and mitigate climate change.

Active transport networks will be more common, allowing people to make more journeys by foot or bicycle, improving health and wellbeing. At the same time, reduced motorised traffic will decrease air pollution, bringing benefits for health and habitat condition.

In resilient ecosystems our protected sites and priority habitats will be well managed. Ecosystem condition will be regularly monitored; land managers will have the skills and knowledge to assist with this. Citizen science will play an important role in re-connecting people with nature, and best use will be made of technological advances including remote sensing and eDNA techniques. More areas of habitat will be restored and created so that they can resist, recover and adapt to pressures.

We see a future Wales with resilient ecosystems which will allow every person, wherever they live, to connect to nature every day, and where land managers are paid a fair price for both the food they produce and managing our natural resources in a sustainable way, ensuring continued delivery of ecosystem services for the benefit of all.

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