Years of conservation work by the Woodland Trust will be undermined by the felling of trees at Wentwood Forest.
Restoration work the charity began in 2006, involving the gradual removal of conifers to allow native broadleaf trees and characteristic ancient woodland flora and fauna to return, will be destroyed.
Much of Wentwood Forest was planted with confiers in the 1940s and 50s as a means of providing fast-growing wood for building. This has led to the decline of many species and unique characteristics of ancient woodland. Larch trees are part of attempts to restore the forest to its natural state.
Wales' largest ancient forest is to have many of its trees felled due to a fungus-like disease. Hundreds of acres of Wentwood Forest near Newport will be cut down. It's thought that the disease will continue to spread in the coming months and further felling will be required.
Natural Resources Wales says it will spend £500,000 immediately to try to stop the Phytophthora ramorum tree disease from spreading further.
An extra £2 million will be provided for carrying out future work.
This is the most serious and devastating action we’ve had to take on our estate because of tree disease and it again highlights both the need to tackle tree disease and the importance of restoring as much of our damaged ancient woodland as possible to make it more resilient in decades to come.
Following the felling the Trust believes that the best approach is to immediately replant the wood with native broadleaf trees such as oak and cherry in the hope of preserving woodland specialist plants that only thrive when sheltered by tree canopy.