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Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, has launched its 2021 manifesto: The Roots to a Green Recovery in Wales.

The manifesto for the Welsh Parliamentary elections in 2021 outlines how trees can play a vital role in addressing the nature and climate crisis, whilst helping to rebuild a thriving post-COVID economy that's fit for the present, and for the wellbeing of future generations.

Coed Cadw director Natalie Buttriss outlined:

"The Covid-19 pandemic has left us all reeling, but at the same time, we are in the midst of a linked climate and biodiversity crisis. Our recovery must address this now, with urgency and focus. To return to normal is to repeat the mistakes of the past.

"Our wellbeing has depended on trees and woods for centuries - they have always offered simple and cost-effective solutions to the challenges we all face. Our manifesto for Senedd 2021 sets out how trees can work for nature, people and our economy, now and for future generations.”

Three roots to a green recovery in Wales

Three ‘roots’ form the basis of Coed Cadw’s foundations for a stronger and more resilient Wales:

1. Green our towns and cities

Coed Cadw wants to see trees and green spaces close to everyone. They are vital for health and wellbeing, provide protection from pollution and shade from extreme heat, reduce flooding, and bring nature closer.

As a result, Coed Cadw is calling for a Tree and Woodland Plan to be created for every council in Wales, and an end to the destruction of the mature trees we already have.

2. Support farming communities with trees

Traditionally, trees and hedges have long protected and provided for the welfare of farm animals. They nourish, increase, and protect farm soils, boosting fertility and acting as a vital carbon store. Their appropriate re-establishment will help to protect Welsh communities from the increasingly adverse weather conditions caused by climate change.

Coed Cadw wants to increase tree cover on farms with payments under a hedges and edges scheme supporting climate-smart, nature friendly farming. They also want to strengthen partnership work with farmers as part of a national Green Recovery Programme.

3. Connect Wales to a woodland economy

A woodland economy which looks after and expands tree cover will provide opportunities for employment, whilst significantly contributing to the green recovery of Wales.

Coed Cadw is calling for the development of the Wales National Forest to make Wales a connected woodland nation. It wants to use carbon smart forests to fix and store carbon in trees, woodlands, and to connect Welsh communities to the woodland economy.

Read the roots and branches of the manifesto in detail.

Natalie Buttriss concluded,

“The next Welsh Government must ensure that trees are central to our economy and society in Wales and must do so much more to realise the full value of trees for the wellbeing of communities and businesses right across the country.”

Notes to editors

Why do we need a green recovery in Wales?

Ancient woodland is rare; in Wales, it covers only 4.5% of the land surface. Centuries old, it has developed special communities of plants, insects and animals not found elsewhere. The ancient woods of Wales also include Celtic rainforest, an ecosystem of national and international importance as a home to rare plants and wildlife.

But the constant loss of ancient woodland in the name of human development runs in parallel with the nature crisis.

From national forests to local streets, trees also reflect our pride in our surroundings. They provide shelter, shade and oxygen, they draw in carbon and filter pollution, enrich soils and hold back water. They provide wood as a raw material for buildings, joinery and craftwork. They are marvels to admire; they stand witness across the generations to historical events and secrets, and are central to storytelling and play.

But between 2006-2013, some 7,000 large trees were lost, and between 2009-2013, 159 out of our 220 towns showed an overall decline in tree cover.

For further enquiries contact Jane Cook hello@talktojanepr.co.uk / 07791998381 or the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 / media@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife. The Trust has three key aims:

  1. protect ancient woodland, which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. These include over 100 sites in Wales, with a total area of 2,897 hectares (7,155 acres).

Access to its woods is free, so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

The Trust’s Welsh language name, Coed Cadw, is an old Welsh term, used in medieval laws to describe protected or preserved woodland.