Our trees and woodland in Wales provide many benefits to individuals, communities and industries related to harvesting natural resources. Trees are an important part of a healthy ecosystem by attracting vital pollinators and supporting integrated pest management - meaning less money on expensive and environmentally damaging fertilisers.
Trees improve soil conditions from increasing protection from wind, limiting water erosion and providing natural drainage - integrated 'green spaces' in urban areas act as natural flood defences. Benefits to farming include helping to boost crop yield, by slowing wind speeds and improving crop-water efficiency, and offering the opportunity to increase production through silvoarable and silvopastoral schemes. Trees improve wellbeing and provide an essential connection with nature.
Some of the biggest threats to trees and ancient woodland in the UK are from over exploitation of natural resources (logging, clearing for pasture), pests and diseases (e.g. Ash dieback) and changing weather patterns (climate change).
The Woodland Trust is the UK's largest woodland conservation charity. They have three main goals:
Woodland Trust has thousands of resources to help you understand more about our native trees and ancient woodlands, and ideas for how you can became more involved in nature, including helping you find your local woodland.
Woodland Trust needs help protecting, restoring and creating woodland. You can do this as part of an organisation, community or as an individual by:
In Wales community woodlands can be found in many types of woodland, of varying sizes and in diverse locations. With a 300 member strong grassroots network, Llais y Goedwig is the proud voice of community woodlands in Wales. Through local and national networking events, Llais y Goedwig helps bring community woodland groups together to share their experience; the Llais y Goedwig Annual Gathering is a fantastic event with many opportunities to network and share good practice with individuals and organisations tackling comparable issues and opportunities.
Since 2008, Llais y Goedwig has continuously represented the interests of community woodland groups in Welsh policy debates and published a Manifesto for the Forests of Wales. Llais y Goedwig is currently undertaking research into critical areas of forestry in Wales - including studies of woodfuel supply and the potential for non wood forest products to support social enterprises.
Just as there is no single model of a community woodland group in Wales, then there is no fixed process for creating one. Each woodland group starts in a unique way - seeing how others did it can be a very useful, and give some tips based on real experiences:
Tir Coed is a charity based in Mid-West Wales that 'improves lives through woodlands'.
Operating in under-used Natural Resource Wales owned woodlands and community woodlands with public access. These woodlands are often deemed economically unviable and have frequently been left unmanaged for years. Tir Coed utilises these woodlands as a tool for rural development and rural diversification unlocking the potential of the woodland to provide:
Tir Coed works in rural, economically deprived areas with little access to services or opportunities but regions which are often rich in woodland thus the Tir Coed model creates new economic, social and environmental opportunities.
Blaen Bran protects and preserves 100 acres of woodland above Upper Cwmbran for the use of the community. The area is of natural and historical interest and is situated on the side of the Mynydd Maen (Stone Mountain) with wonderful views over Cwmbran and extending to the Severn and Llandegfedd reservoir and provides a feeling of freedom, peace and quiet as a getaway from the town.
Coed Lleol -
Actif Woods Wales
Coed Lleol is the Welsh branch of the Small Woods Association, which has a significant track record in managing Social Forestry projects, as well as projects to promote sustainable management of small woodlands for social, environmental and economic benefit. Previous projects of Coed Lleol included a Community Woodland project to kick start a now independent support network for community woodland groups, Llais Y Goedwig. Coed Lleol aims to 'reconnect people and woodlands in Wales' and currently runs the Actif Woods Wales project in 9 locations throughout Wales; Anglesey, Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Wrexham, Flintshire, Aberystwyth, Gwynedd, Treherbert and Merthyr. Actif Woods Wales is an innovative health and wellbeing project to help people get healthy the woodland way and supports activity groups, including woodland management work, bushcraft, woodland gym, crafts and nature education in partnership with health and environmental organisations (such as Mind, Macmillan and AONB's) as well as training and support, including setting up a Social Forestry OCN course running in several centres in Wales and England.
Coed Marros Co-operative
The Coed Marros Co‐op started as a group of five people who pooled their resources to purchase and develop Coed Marros as a community woodland. The Co‐op has primarily focused on developing a Community Woodland using Permaculture principles, livelihoods for themselves and a strong and supportive link with the local community.
Coed Phoenix Nature Reserve
Coed Phoenix is a former Spruce plantation that we are transforming into a mosaic of wildlife habitats. The woodland is gradually being restored to predominantly site-native woodland. This will be mainly Sessile Oak, Birch, Willow and Rowan.
The Long Forest initiative is a community engagement project run by Keep Wales Tidy in partnership with the Woodland Trust and the University of South Wales. It is funded by the Welsh Government's Nature Fund. The Long Forest initiative encourages local groups, landowners, schools and businesses to become more actively involved and informed in the management of hedgerows, woodland and ancient trees through practical demonstrations, hedgerow surveys and expert training.
Long Wood Community Woodland (CGLWCW) is a social enterprise based in West Wales. Established in 2003 the woodland is managed for timber sales and as a recreational facility on a not for profit basis ensuring sustainable community focused development of the woodland as a commercial, educational and recreational community owned asset.
Confor - plantation forestry
MWMAC - practical professional training
www.woodlands.co.uk - UK's leading woodland estate agents- excellent blog