Forestry and Woodland in Wales

Published 09/07/2021   |   Last Updated 09/07/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

This research briefing examines the current state of Welsh woodlands, who owns and manages them and how they are changing. It provides an overview of the ecosystem services that woodlands provide and sets out their potential economic, social and environmental value. It concludes by outlining the Welsh Government’s funding of woodlands and its policies aimed at guiding the future of forestry and woodlands in Wales.

1.	Figure of key statistics on woodlands in Wales: £665 million GVA; 11,000 people employed in the sector; 77% of Welsh respondents visited woodland for recreation in 2019; 1.84 million tonnes of CO2e is sequestered annually by woodlands; 210 of the 542 species of principal importance for biodiversity in Wales rely on woodland habitats.

2.	Figure of key statistics on the Welsh woodland area: 15% or 309,000 hectares of Wales is covered by woodland (49% conifer, 51% broadleaf; 31% ancient; 40% managed by NRW). The average planting rate for the last decade was 430 hectares per year, against a Welsh Government target of 5,000.

3.	Figure showing a declining trend in annual planting in Wales (from 3,720 hectares in 1971 to 80 hectares in 2020) and the more consistent restocking rates (1,120 hectares in 1971 and 1,500 hectares in 2020).

Article by Thomas Mitcham and Aoife Mahon, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament  

Senedd Research acknowledges the parliamentary fellowship provided to Thomas Mitcham by the Natural Environment Research Council, which enabled this Research Briefing to be completed.