RFS highlights numerous current and future challenges to Welsh woodlands

Brexit is likely to hit the Welsh government's environmental and social aims for its woodlands, according to a submission by the Royal Forestry Society.

Image: G Y Gabor (CC BY 2.0)
Image: G Y Gabor (CC BY 2.0)

Commenting on the Welsh Government's draft Woodlands for Wales strategy, the RFS said that leaving the European Union would likely mean "reduced financial support for forestry, affecting the sector's ability to deliver non-market ecosystem services", while Welsh scientists "may not be able to participate in EU-funded research projects relevant to forestry".

On the other hand, loss of EU support for hill farming would make this less viable, making land "available for afforestation by planting or natural colonisation", it said.

So far, the potential contribution of woodlands to flood alleviation "is now recognised quite widely, but little is being done realise this potential", it added.

It claimed the current Glastir woodland management scheme, funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union, "does not provide the necessary incentives", while most ancient semi-natural woodland in Wales "is in unfavourable condition".

The RFS also "has concerns about the low numbers of young people on forestry-related education and training courses", so impeding the sector's development, it said.

The RFS was one of 35 organisations and individuals to respond to the consultation, which closed at the end of last week.

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