Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is to fell diseased larch trees in Cefni Forest near Llangefni, Anglesey this winter.
Three areas of Cefni Forest have become infected with Phytpophthora ramorum, and a Statutory Plant Health Notice has been issued. The infected larch will be clearfelled to try to control the spread of the disease, covering 11 hectares.
Work is scheduled to start this week and will be completed by March 2022. Work to remove timber from the forest may continue up until the end of March 2022.
Harvesting operations have been planned to take full account of the presence of and possible impact on any protected species, including red squirrels and their habitat. As such, all felling will be completed by the end of January 2022.
To keep people safe, management of public access will be required when the trees are felled and carried to the forest roadside.
Although diseased, the larch trees are still a viable crop. The estimated 1200 tonnes of trees removed will go to sawmills licenced to receive infected timber, to be used for house building material, fencing and wood fuel.
Once the work has been completed NRW plans to replant the area with a mixture of broadleaf and conifer trees, to help create a more diverse woodland which will be more resistant to disease. This, in turn, will help local biodiversity, as well as be a more favourable habitat to support the red squirrel population.
Ian Sachs, Forest Operations Team Leader from NRW said: “Due to the location of the Forest next to Cefni Reservoir, and to comply with the Statutory Plant Health Notice, we have decided not to inject the infected trees. Instead, we decided to fell these trees to try to prevent any further spread of the larch disease.
“Because of the challenging location above the reservoir, and with it being such a busy recreation site, the work requires access management to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately this means using temporary public access restriction methods. All our operators will be in radio contact to keep disruption to a minimum for forest road users.
“We will work to reduce the impact on the local community wherever possible, but our priority is to keep everyone safe. We thank everyone in advance for their cooperation.”
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