The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) has welcomed a statement by Lesley Griffiths, Wales’ Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, in which she pledged to “accelerate woodland creation” and to progress the First Minister’s commitment to create a new national forest for Wales.
At the same time, she made clear her commitment includes support for agroforestry, the use of trees within farming systems, something that the Woodland Trust has been calling for. The Trust has pointed out that the Welsh Government’s ambitious planting targets could be largely met by modest increases in tree cover on farms across Wales, in the form of a ‘hedges and edges’ scheme, planting more hedges, shelterbelts, riparian strips as part of connected networks of habitat.
The Trust has also welcomed the Minister’s underlining of the importance of protecting ancient and veteran trees. The Minister announced that there would be an opportunity to apply for Glastir Woodland Creation and Restoration Grants by opening a new round of grants including a special grant for replanting areas of woodland that have been felled due to the Phytophthora ramorum tree disease found mostly in non-native larch trees.
The Welsh Government has previously set a target of creating 5,000 hectares of new woodland per year, both to help meet its greenhouse gas targets and also to make the landscape more resilient to climate change.