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Encouraging progress is being made towards delivering the objectives of Woodlands for Wales, the Welsh Government’s 50-year strategy for woodlands and trees.
The first annual update of the Welsh Government’s Action Plan covering the period 2010 to 2015, which contains a foreword by John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, shows the areas where progress is clearly being made after just one year.
The Woodlands for Wales strategy, first published in 2001, was revised in March 2009 and the five-year Action Plan published the following year.
The strategy looks at how trees and woodlands can help deliver social, economic and environmental benefits and also the contribution they can make towards addressing the impacts of a changing climate.
The Action Plan sets out the activities which need to be undertaken to deliver these benefits.
Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) has responsibility for the management and monitoring of the Action Plan and takes the lead in delivering many of the individual actions. Actions are also being delivered by a wide range of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors – frequently in partnership.
Examples of progress include:
• The launch of the Wild Deer Management in Wales strategy.
• The Heads of the Valleys woodland plan has been published and is being used to prioritise resources.
• FCW published guidance on increasing tree species diversity which was promoted in the private sector through events held by the Wales Forest Business Partnership and The Confederation of Forest Industries.
• The Woodland Carbon Code has been launched with a pilot site near Devauden, Monmouthshire. The code will set out the standards for voluntary carbon sequestration projects that incorporate core principles of good carbon management as part of modern sustainable forest management.
• The Glastir Woodland Creation Grant was launched.
• Llais y Goedwig, the community woodland network, launched a series of Advisory Notes in March 2011 to help guide and support communities who want to get involved with woodlands. More will follow in 2011/12.
• A project has commenced to develop guidance for the prioritisation of peat habitat restoration in Wales involving FCW, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency Wales and divisions within the Welsh Government.
The updated Action Plan can be accessed at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/WoodlandsforWalesActionPlan1.pdf/$FILE/WoodlandsforWalesActionPlan1.pdf
In addition to the annual updates on progress of the actions, a series of indicators are published each year. They can be accessed at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/WoodlandsforWalesIndicatorsWAG2011.pdf/$FILE/WoodlandsforWalesIndicatorsWAG2011.pdf