Teenager takes leaf out of foresters’ book

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Llanfair Caereinion High School pupil Joseph Webb joined Forestry Commission Wales staff to see how they manage the woodlands of Powys.

Joseph, 15, from Llanfair Caereinion, helped foresters carry out surveys to check for infection on pine trees during a week’s work experience with FC Wales, which looks after all the Welsh Government’s woodlands.

He discovered which pests and diseases posed new threats to our trees and how Forestry Commission scientists were fighting back against the growing risks.

Joseph gained a unique insight to the varied challenges of forestry in the 21st century during a week at the FC Wales office in Welshpool.

He learned about the history of the Forestry Commission, which was set up in 1919 to ensure the country had enough timber after supplies were depleted during the first World War, and how forestry today placed more emphasis on how trees enhance the environment.

He saw how FC Wales supported a thriving forest industry through sustainable management of woodlands by thinning them to keep them healthy and then re-stocking areas where trees had been felled.

He also saw the work foresters did to maintain public access as more and more people visit our woodlands for recreation, and spent a day with a wildlife ranger to see how FC Wales preserves habitats for woodland animals, many of which are endangered.

Much of the nation’s heritage is to be found in our woodlands, and during the week Joseph helped to locate an archaeological monument using a GPS navigation system.

He spent a day with a woodland officer discussing felling licence regulations, the impact woodlands can have on the landscape and how to identify trees. He also saw the speed at which efficient modern harvesting machines cut down trees for the forest industry.

Joseph discovered how woodlands are managed to provide social benefits for future generations and why it was important to provide home-grown timber from well managed, sustainable woodlands.

He said, “It was great to see the wide variety of work carried out by all the different departments and experts. I chatted with different members of staff about career paths and would like to think that one day I will work in forestry.”

Planning forester Becky Hares said, “We wanted to ensure that Joseph gained a good understanding of the many different types of work that Forestry Commission Wales carries out.”

Caption: Joseph helps out with a survey of the trees in a local woodland during his week with Forestry Commission Wales.


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

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