Big welcome to Plantlife’s report, Forestry Recommissioned, on revitalising the woodlands of Wales. There is a lot we can agree with, especially all their collection of targeted solutions, ranging from more productive management of some native woods; some non-intervention woods, more open wood pastures and more woodland establishment. Coed Cadw strongly agree that what we want to see is a landscape full of trees, hedges, tree belts, open woods, and diversely managed forestry, not a landscape of dank dense woods surrounded by treeless farmland.
It is good to see woodland management and woodland expansion considered as complementary strategies, both are required if we are to sustainably conserve our native woodland wildlife.
We don’t think a mere 6% of Wales under native woodland cover is enough for the long term survival of woodland ecosystems and for adaptability in the face of climate change. Creating more new woodland is a long term strategy which secures space and public commitment for the wildlife communities of the future. In time these woods will mature and will support diverse wildlife communities, but probably not the same as those of the woods managed by previous generations.
We also agree with Plantlife that the mapping tool available to guide the location of new planting is only a crude indicator and needs to be supported by site assessment by landowners and experienced advisors.
The report makes good reading for anyone interested in this topic. We wish Plantlife well in getting it turned it into deliverable actions. We also invite Plantlife to join with us in vigorously promoting native tree planting where this would enrich biodiversity, help reduce flooding and provide a sustainable source of wood and timber for the future.
Jerry Langford, Wales Director Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust)