The Welsh Assembly Government's woodland creation vision will be realised over the next 20 years through the new Glastir agri-environmental scheme, said Welsh rural affairs minister Elin Jones.
Jones was responding to the recommendations of the Land Use and Climate Change group which she established last year to find ways of helping to reduce emissions of green house gases from Wales.
Woodland Trust's country director for Wales Jerry Langford said: "We greatly welcome this bold move by Elin Jones which shows a real commitment to taking action to tackle climate change. It requires a massive change in the rate of woodland creation in Wales and I really hope that the weightings and payment levels in Glastir and the Forestry Commission grant schemes will be set so as to make this possible. This is a win-win opportunity for Wales and for Welsh farmers."
The Land Use and Climate Change Group's proposals include the creation of 100,000ha of new, mainly native woodland over the next 20 years. The report suggests that if all of its recommendations are adopted, rural Wales can achieve net green house gas emission cuts of the order of 80% by 2040, with increased sustainability and improved Welsh resilience to international shocks.
In September 2009 the Woodland Trust presented a 2,000 signature petition to the Welsh Assembly, calling for a doubling of native woodland by 2050. That means creating 124,000 ha of new native woodland over the next 40 years.