Forests and woodlands are as much part of the mix of solutions for the Biodiversity and Climate Emergency as they are themselves under threat from it.
The UK Climate Change Committee have set out strong recommendations for 30,000 hectares of new woodland per annum by 2050 (UKCCC, 2020), of which a significant portion will likely be commercial plantation woodlands. Expansion and sustainable management of this new woodland will act as a mechanism for meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 15, combatting climate change, improving home-grown timber supply for the construction sector, and providing a wide range of valuable public goods.
Plantations, alongside other forms of woodland creation, have an important role in carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation, providing public amenity and recreational benefits and biodiversity conservation. The coniferous forest resource in Great Britain is increasingly expected to deliver a broad range of ecosystem services to society; this alongside the provision of timber and other forest products, through management for multiple objectives, often within a small geographical area.
Welsh Government commissioned Woodknowledge Wales to conduct a review to identify the top five alternative commercial tree species suitable to meet timber utilisation demands in light of increasing potential pest and disease pressures as a result of climate change.
Our approach to identifying the top five alternative tree species for GB has drawn on and collated the existing knowledge base through literature review and inputs from a broad range of stakeholders. It does not capture experience found on the ground which has not been published, yet. Results should be seen as a starting point for further investigation.
In this sense, we have set out on a journey of collaboration bringing together stakeholders to discuss potential ways forward. If you would like participate in our future stakeholder workshops, please get in touch.
Please note this an amended version of the report published on the 23rd June 2021 which now lists the top five ranked species in Table 3.6 in the correct order (Thuja plicata and Sequoiadendron giganteum were in the wrong order in previous versions).
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The Wales Forest Business Partnership (WFBP) have surveyed 55 Japanese larch sites across Wales and estimate that 4.9 metre sawlogs make up 24% of the total crop of 1.89 million cubic metres. This could produce around 1 million cubic metres of sawnwood or 50,000 timber framed and timber clad three bedroomed houses. Add in projected volumes of sawnwood from The Marches and these figures increase to anything between 68,750 and 76,725 houses.