While we may be in the midst of a global pandemic, let us not forget that we’re also facing an even bigger crisis threatening humanity: climate change. In an effort to restore its country to a more natural setting while fighting climate change, the Welsh government is on a mission to plant a national forest that would span the length and width of the country. Their plan is to connect already existing protected wooded areas with even more trees through large-scale tree-planting efforts.
Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, said, “We have a responsibility to future generations to protect nature from the dangers of our changing climate, but a healthy natural environment will also offer protection to our communities from the dangers we ourselves face.”
Not only will it be a wonderful countermeasure to climate change, but the introduction of more forests will mean a refuge for endangered Welsh animals, such as the black grouse, Scottish wildcat, red squirrel, and the capercaillie.
There has already been an allocation of £5 million given to the project, and an additional £10 million will be put towards the many tree-planting programs to follow according to their announcement.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn, said, “The National Forest will be a Wales-wide asset, and communities across the country will be able to take part.”
Additionally, Professor Mary Gagen of the University of Swansea, gave an interview with the BBC. The professor, who is also a climate scientist, believes that the announcement of the national forest project is the right move.
As Gagen said, “But what’s great is that this project also looks at habitat restoration, at retaining the trees we have at the moment, protecting our ancient forests and connecting areas so wildlife can use them.”
Rory Francis, Communications Officer at Woodland Trust, said to GNN, “While the plan to create a National Forest for Wales is a Welsh government initiative, the Woodland Trust is very much in support of this. We were actually working to promote the idea even before the Welsh government and the First Minister personally, adopted the idea.”
This is definitely a very positive change that will hopefully have a lasting impact for the better. If only more countries and their governments would follow suit.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.