The Great Welsh Upland Rainforest featuring Cloud Forest and Hanging Forests of a range of largely deciduous, native species– a fantastic carbon store and fresh air producer, a thriving mixture of churning biodiversity, a stable water resource, a glorious visitor experience, productive of livestock and arable crops, biofuels, structural and coppice timber, home to an increasing population of actively involved land custodians, improvers and utilisers with their associated population of additional trades and skills.
A dream to most but a nightmare to the administrators of the Welsh Assembly and its attached groups of future planners, drawn from vested interest lobbies the length and breadth of the land. I’ve just spent a couple of weeks finally sorting out where their last ten years of discussion have got them. When I can calm down enough I’ll write it all up in detail but suffice now to quote :
A review of historic land use may identify areas where the restoration of a wooded landscape may contribute to and enhance the present land use *
is typical of their prevarication. And even worse:
New woodland may not be appropriate in some relatively treeless landscapes or areas with no tradition of forestry. *
My God, if trees are “not appropriate” in such “landscapes”, when those “landscapes” have been carved out of temperate rainforest that is because you’ve grown accustomed to the deserts resultant from human degradation of the area. If a victim is bullied incessantly then the poor soul becomes scared if it stops and if you take heroin away from an addict pain and suffering ensue. We must, in fact, put our precious Welsh landscape through a severe cold turkey or, rather, place its custodians through the same.
As for “no tradition of forestry” come on – the idea is to restore and revive and so introduce a scope for new skills to emerge. At present 100s of hectares are managed by one farmer and attached flock of sheep. This will change and the region become far more productive, reducing pollution and no longer increasing it, yet involving a greater, and I’m sure happier, human population. Shepherd/farmer suicide rates are known to be very high.
The pamphlet, and others produced by the Welsh Assembly to discuss this matter, are all filled with glossy pictures of bountiful woodland and you are tempted to be lulled into a false state of security. They are pictures of the exceptions to the rule and the rules they do not want to change.
I’ll come back to this with a look at the grip Sheeponomics has on the landscape. Loosen that and progress ensues.
* = Extracts from Welsh Assembly’s http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Heritage-Landscape-the-Cultural-Value-WAG-(E).pdf/$FILE/Heritage-Landscape-the-Cultural-Value-WAG-(E).pdf Section 3, part 3