Woodlands deliver a range of ecosystem services which are important for well-being.

These include providing timber, supporting biodiversity, storing carbon, improving air and water quality, reducing the risk of flooding and drought, improving our physical and mental health, and providing opportunities for education and learning.

Woodland types in Wales vary from ancient to recent, semi-natural to plantations (conifer, broadleaf and mixed). Wales’s woodlands include significantly important semi-natural woodland habitat types and species.

The character of woodland in Wales has been influenced by both historic land use and previous government policy. Woodlands now cover approximately 15% of the land area of Wales. In the early 1900s, coverage was as low as 5% but this increased significantly in the mid-1900s as state owned forests were established. However, Wales remains one of the least wooded countries in Europe and there is a strong push to increase the rate of new woodland creation.

Our assessment

Download the SoNaRR2020: Woodlands chapter (PDF)

This chapter identifies the drivers of change in woodlands including climate change, pests and diseases, air pollution, lack of appropriate management and land-use change, and assesses the resilience of the woodland ecosystem.

It identifies how action to improve the resilience of our existing woodlands, alongside new woodland creation, can help tackle the challenge of the nature and climate emergencies, as well as deliver timber and other ecosystem services to secure well-being benefits for current and future generations.

The Woodlands chapter's evidence needs are included in the overall evidence needs table.

Related downloads

Related data, maps and reports that underpin SoNaRR 2020

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