Our natural resources
Our air, land, water, wildlife, plants and soil – our ‘natural resources’ - provide us with our basic needs, including food, energy, health and enjoyment.
When cared for in the right way, they can help us to reduce flooding, improve air quality and supply materials for construction. They also provide a home for some rare and beautiful wildlife and iconic landscapes we can enjoy and which boost the economy via tourism.
But our environment and natural resources are coming under increasing pressure – from climate change, from a growing population and from the need for energy production.
Our State of Wales’ Natural Resources report includes the current evidence on the state of our natural resources in Wales.
To get the most out of our environment for the future, we all have to look after it so it can continue to provide us with the things we need. Any decisions we make can have a knock-on effect on the environment as a whole, now and for many generations to come
A healthy environment helps sustain people and our economy. We need to care for our natural resources in a joined up way that provides multiple benefits for people and nature, now and into the future. We’re all in this together; from Government to public sector to businesses to individuals – we all need to play our part.
We need to plan and prepare for the challenges ahead – whether these are global economic crises or climate change. We know that when our environment is working at its best, society as a whole thrives.
Progress so far
Decades of work to understand, protect and improve our environment have taken us a long way. Our rivers and beaches are cleaner, our air is fresher and our beautiful landscapes provide the people of Wales with world-class leisure and nature opportunities and attract millions of tourists every year.
Despite this, many of our plants and wildlife are in decline and we still have many issues to tackle that have proved difficult to date. Efforts to date have taken us so far. The issues that remain are harder nuts to crack.
Taking it to the next level
This is why we need a different approach - one that looks at the whole picture rather than focusing on individual parts of our environment. An approach that understands how a healthy and resilient environment supports economic and social prosperity. It will involve working at a community or landscape level to join things together and develop collective solutions.
By understanding the important relationships between our environment, society and economy, we can tackle this decline in a way which benefits everyone.
But it will take time
The journey to success is long and we cannot reverse long-term trends overnight. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Taking a joined up approach to managing our natural resources – ‘natural resource management’ – will help us to tackle old problems in new ways. To find better solutions to the challenges we face – and create a more successful, healthy and resilient Wales, now and in the future.
Trialling at grass-roots level
We are currently with local communities in the Dyfi, Rhondda and Tawe catchments, to test how natural resource management may work in a practical way.
Introducing sustainable management of natural resources
The Environment (Wales) Act and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act together create modern legislation for managing Wales’ natural resources and improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. They will help us tackle the challenges we face and to take better advantage of the potential opportunities for Wales. The Environment Act focuses on building resilience into our ecosystems and recognising the benefits that they provide if we manage them in a smarter way.
The Environment Act gives Natural Resources Wales a new purpose - to pursue sustainable management of natural resources We will apply a specific set of principles while maximising our contribution to the well-being goals.
We've produced a booklet to introduce you to our new way of working.