Brothers keep alive family’s forest tradition

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6 APRIL 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14551

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Two brothers are keeping alive a family tradition of helping to maintain a competitive, vibrant forest industry in Wales.

Elwyn and Huw Davies, from Llangadfan near Welshpool, harvest trees from some of the most sensitive areas of the country on behalf of Forestry Commission Wales.

They took over the reins of the family business, EB Davies and Sons, when their father, Berwyn, retired about five years ago and today play a key role in helping the Commission to manage the Welsh Assembly Government’s woodlands sustainably.

The forest industry is worth £400 million a year to the Welsh economy and provides work for about 22,000 people in forestry wood processing and recreational businesses in Wales associated with woodlands.

About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands and Welsh forests are some of the most productive in the UK, with enough trees to build 130,000 timber framed houses leaving Assembly Government woodlands alone every year.

FC Wales manages the 311,000 acres owned by the Assembly Government – which make up 38% of Wales’s total woodland cover – and it demands that harvesting is done in a responsible way that meets strict environmental standards.

“The quality of work is key to us meeting our environmental responsibilities and for ensuring that our certification for managing our forests sustainably remains intact,” said Hugh Jones, head of the Commission’s Wales Harvesting and Marketing.

“It’s not unusual to find highly sensitive forest areas where the harvesting of trees has to be balanced with a high level of care for the environment.”

Although WHaM operates two of its own harvesting teams most of its work is carried out through the contract sector – continuing a trend to out-source the harvesting element of forest operations that has taken place over the past 30 years.

These trusted and highly skilled contractors help WHaM to meet the aims of Woodlands for Wales, the Assembly Government’s woodland strategy, which seeks to support a competitive forest sector to boost the Welsh economy and ensure that more Welsh-grown timber is used in Wales, thereby helping to reduce our carbon footprint.

“The most effective way of increasing our capacity is to offer work to tender. However, it’s important to note that tendering is not only judged on price but on the ability to deliver results that are required from the implementation of the harvesting plan,” said Hugh. 

“The Davies brothers have demonstrated their ability to turn their harvesting plans into high quality work, ensuring that they protect the site whilst removing timber from particularly sensitive areas.”

The Davieses have recently completed a section of forest in Forge, near Machynlleth, and are about to move to another sensitive site in Dyfnant Forest.

For several years, the company has worked on “standing sales”, buying and harvesting standing trees to sell on to timber processors. When their father retired, Elwyn and Huw also began tendering for Direct Production contracts, harvesting trees and placing them at the roadside for collection by other buyers.

Their confidence in a resurgent forest industry has enabled them, in the past three years, to invest in a new Valmet harvester and forwarder. They recently added a five-year-old CAT grapple skidder to the fleet, which harvests trees by grappling them and pulling them up at the butt end and can travel over rough terrain and up slopes.

“This demonstrates their strong desire to invest in the future of harvesting timber in Wales,” said Hugh.

Caption: The Davies brothers with their harvesting equipment.


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 Assembly Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email