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A forest car park has been closed while some nearby trees are removed to improve the woodland for dog walkers and workers taking lunchtime breaks.
Forestry Commission Wales has closed part of Llantrisant woodland in Rhondda Cynon Taff until February 2012 for safety reasons while western hemlock trees growing beside the car park are felled.
Western hemlock reproduces very easily and, if left unchecked, could quickly over-run an adjacent ancient semi-natural woodland.
Removing the western hemlock will protect the diversity of plants and other trees in the area, as well as provide valuable timber for sale.
Planning forester Gareth Roberts said, “Western hemlock self-seeds so effectively that it can starve the forest floor of light, thereby reducing the diversity of plants and trees found in the area.
“We want to encourage the continued enjoyment of Llantrisant woodland by the public for recreational use, and this operation to remove the western hemlock will help to achieve this.”
The broadleaf trees in the felling area will be retained and the site will be restocked with a mixture of non-invasive conifer and broadleaves, with a stronger broadleaf element to create a more natural, interesting woodland.
Riparian zones – around streams which are currently surrounded with conifer – will be opened up and managed to favour native woodland species and improve the habitat and biodiversity.
The Llantrisant Bunny Walks route through the forest will also be off limits during the operations, along with an unofficial mountain bike trail in the vicinity.
Greg Jones, FC Wales local area manager, said, “This gives us the opportunity to reassess recreation and mountain bike trails in that part of the forest, while enabling us to meet our objective to produce quality timber and improve the ecology of the forest.
“We trust the public will bear with us while these operations to improve the woodland take place. We hope the work can be completed earlier, in order to reopen the car park in the new year.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
For more information on the work at Llantrisant woodland, contact Forestry Commission Wales ranger Mike James on 0300 068 0225, mobile 07825 843 253, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email email@example.com