Previous waves of poorly planned and implemented plantation forestry still blight parts of Snowdonia, as they do many areas of Wales. Planted with a dense monoculture of invasive Sitka spruce or lodgepole pine then effectively abandoned, tax breaks and public funding are the main crops harvested from them. Nature, landscape, and local cultural heritage have been laid waste under such plantations. Sometimes their produce is so poor that it is not economically or practically worth harvesting.
Now a lot of big companies are interested in carbon offsetting and we face the risk of heading into another cycle of industrial afforestation. Farmers and conservationists are concerned, amongst many people who want land use and management to become more, rather than less, sustainable.
The Snowdonia Society is encouraging a public conversation on trees in the landscape. We need to debunk the carbon offsetting greenwashing – planting trees can’t be used to justify business as usual for carbon-intensive commercial sectors, nor for our own lifestyles. We also need to move beyond the often simplistic conservation narrative that trees are good. Curlews, for example, don’t agree! In short we need to be strategic as a nation about where we want more trees, les trees and better managed trees.
Here are links to some recent articles quoting our Director: