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Working Together FCWales

Urban Trees

Traditionally, Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) has been associated with woodland management in rural Wales. However, many of the woodlands we manage are not only the ‘backdrop to life’ for many of our urban communities, but also provide on-the-doorstep opportunities for people to get out and about in green spaces.  

The benefits of urban woodlands and trees are clear, and the need to protect them and increase their numbers compelling.  In Woodlands for Wales, the Welsh Government states its aim to ensure that woodlands and trees play a greater and more valued role in towns and cities, improving quality of life and surroundings for people who live in urban areas.

FCW is developing its response to this challenge, building on the work of our Cydcoed and Treegeneration programmes in Welsh towns in recent years,  and our focus on Welsh Government Regeneration Areas and their town centre improvement plans.

Current FCW initiatives include:

  • Commissioning of a baseline Urban Tree Inventory – capturing the extent of tree canopy cover for Wales’ top 50 urban areas
  • The Plant! programme - a tree for every child born and adopted in Wales – now creating a number of new small urban woodlands, the latest in Caia Park in Wrexham
  • The development of strategic Woodland Strategies in the Heads of the Valleys and Western Valleys Regeneration Areas – both have identified key priority woodlands with potential to deliver multiple benefits for the urban communities bordering them.

Benefits of Urban Woodlands and Trees

Research has shown that with the right tree in the right place, urban trees can:

       Social

  • Encourage people to get out and about and exercising – promoting health
  • Absorb airborne pollutants – cleaner air
  • Promote wellbeing - calming and stress reducing – create sense of place
  • Shade – reduced risk of skin cancer
  • Baffle sound – traffic noise reduced
  • Hide unappealing views and aspects 

        Climate Change

  • Absorb CO2 – create a carbon sink
  • Renewable energy – woodfuel – increased use of arisings from the management of urban woodlands and trees
  • Help to manage water flow – reducing the impact of heavy rain and floods
  • Reflect sunlight, provide shade – urban areas with trees are warmer in winter and cooler in summer

       Environment

  • Enhance biodiversity
  • Improve air and water quality – trees act as natural filters
  • Transform appearance of developments and sites

        Economic

  • Yield small amounts of timber, mulch, fruit
  • Contribute to woodfuel supply chains
  • Enhance property values
  • Result in better performing retail areas
  • Attract visitors and tourists
  • Are a significant capital asset