The Blight of Clear-Felling in Our Forests May Get the Chop; CONTINUOUS COVER PROVES A SUCCESS IN WOODLAND TRIAL
Byline: SION MORGAN email@example.com
WALES' forests could be more diverse, environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain in future thanks to an experiment which started 18 years ago.
Land where woodland is currently managed around rural Wales is often blighted by clear-felling, where trees are removed en masse for logging and replaced by younger plants for regeneration.
The Continuous Cover Forestry Group have been seeking an alternative method for years, and believe they have found one thanks to a trial on Cwm Berwyn in the hills above Tregaron which started in 1994.
A spokesman for the group said: "Continuous cover forestry, or CCF, keeps the forest standing while the next generation of young trees grow from seed underneath the forest canopy. It's an alternative to the clear-felling of forests seen on many a Welsh hillside.
"The forest benefits from a much more natural and mixed structure, a far cry from the serried ranks of conifers originally planted on open land in the last century."
Earlier this month foresters met at Cwm Berwyn where 18 years ago Forestry Commission Wales set up a daring large scale trial to see if they could regenerate forests without the cost of replanting rows of trees.
The forest has been thinned out and, within small glades and openings young saplings are growing from seed and regenerating the forest.
Some of the original trees have then been left unfelled for longer than they would have been normally, and will grow on to provide larger logs for the timber industry.
Professional forester Alec Dauncey used to work for the Forestry Commission, and started the trial at Cwm Berwyn 18 years ago.
He said: "There is a feeling among some that the Welsh Government and the Forestry Commission could maybe go a bit further to develop the way we manage our forestry networks in a more sustainable way, to move on from the system of clear-felling that currently stains the Welsh landscape.
"The question was always whether it was practical to do something like this, and the trial has shown us that it probably is. …