Forest habitat network for Wales

Small, isolated woodlands located within functional networksBackground

The National Assembly have strategic objectives to target woodland expansion in order to connect existing woods, increase the core area of native woodland habitats, and foster linkage to other semi-natural communities, as outlined in the Forestry Strategy Document for Wales. The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) are collaborating to develop and implement a woodland habitat network in Wales.

The overall research aim is to design and build a spatial framework and supporting analysis to advise the CCW and FCW, and partners, on the potential for the development woodland habitat networks in Wales. The research is intended to inform a strategic plan for the maintenance, improvement and restoration of woodland and associated habitats with the aim of combating the effects of habitat fragmentation.

The work is due for completion in late 2006/early 2007.

  • Land cover thresholds
    Land cover thresholds have played an influential role in explaining and developing habitat networks within the UK. We reviewed the principles of land cover thresholds, particularly the 30% cover rule, and explored them to assess their usefulness in the development of habitat networks.
  • Woodland habitat networks
    A focal species-based approach to develop and define woodland habitat networks, using an accumulated cost-distance buffer model within the BEETLE (Biological and Environmental Evaluation Tools for Landscape Ecology) set of tools.
  • Strategic aspects
    • Understanding open non-woodland habitats
    • Assessment of marginal network areas
    • Large-scale linkages and climate change
    • Strategic validation of networks and linkages.
  • Local level
    • Case study sites
    • Refinement of networks
    • Local validation of networks
    • Implementation of networks.


Towards a woodland habitat network for Wales (PDF-3519K)
Report No 686 - A collaborative project between CCW and Forestry Commission, Wales