Forestry - The Woodland Resource

A regional forestry economy:

The long wait for timber harvests has hindered the development of private forestry, a drawback that government intervention could help resolve.

Crucial to increasing forestry activity will be support for both existing and new woodland contractors and wood-using businesses using local timber (many do not use local supplies), and the availability of grant aid for managing existing woodlands.

Conifer plantations
Most woodland management activity is in the commercial conifer plantation sector. Some timber is used locally for fencing, sawn timber and other products. A significant amount, including timber from Welsh Government /Natural Resources Wales-managed woodlands, goes to a biomass plant near Port Talbot, and also into the local firewood market. Smaller conifer areas tend to be farm woodlands or undermanaged.

Broadleaf and mixed woodlands
Native broadleaved woodland tends to be on farms or otherwise privately owned. Much is undermanaged, often due to lack of  infrastructure for timber extraction, and a paucity of grants for tracks, thinning, replanting and fencing.

Woodland creation
While planting of both conifer and broadleaf is generally at a low level, we hope that a lot of new woodland will be created by landowners to mitigate flooding and, with support from government, to increase the carbon-sink effect. 

A regional forestry economy:
Crucial to increasing activity will be supporting both existing and new woodland contractors and wood-using businesses using local timber [many do not use local supplies], and the availability of grant aid for managing existing woodlands.

Wood as fuel -- not so great
Wood as a fuel for power generation is not ideal because of the release of carbon dioxide and noxious emissions. Technologies that improve the energy density of biomass, such as the pyrolysis of wood to make biocoal and biochar (for soil improvement) could, though, be profitable products for landowners in a forested Wales, and would help them to diversify their sources of income.