This report engages with the Welsh Government’s policy to significantly increase the woodland cover across Wales from the present 14 per cent of the land area to 20 per cent by 2030. Creating new woodland offers many benefits aside from helping mitigate the impact of climate change. The new woodland will consist of mainly native trees and will provide additional wildlife habitat, improve the quality of our landscape and waters and, at the same time, create useful timber products such as fuel and wood as raw material.
However, increasing Wales’ woodland by 100,000 hectares over 20 years presents a major challenge. It will encourage farmers to plant mixed deciduous and conifer woodlands across suitable parts of largely upland Wales. This will require establishing a new balance between conservation and sustainable development. We will need to weigh the benefits of maintaining existing habitats against the advantages of creating new ones. In addition we will need to return to the practices of former times when woodland management was seen as a natural part of farming culture, rather than being separated from it as is generally the case today.