Why are conifers being removed from the dunes at Morfa Harlech

Important work continues at Morfa Harlech as the NRW forest operations team works alongside Sands of LIFE project and Royal St. David’s Golf Club to remove conifers from around 9.5 hectares of dunes.

Here Jake Burton, Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer North, explains why the work is important as the project continues to go about revitalising sand dunes across Wales.

Why is this work essential?

The area where the felling will take place is a Special Area of Conservation, because of the internationally-important dune wildlife which it supports. Conifers aren’t native to our sand dunes and they were planted in the past for timber production and to stabilise the once moving dunes. Conifers shade out native dune plants, acidify the soil, and dry out naturally wet areas.

The conifers at Morfa Harlech are reaching the end of their commercial life and will start to decline and blow over if not harvested. Their removal will help to restore the sand dunes by creating open areas for dune wildlife to flourish.

Where will the work be taking place?

The proposed works will take place on the western edge of Harlech Forest, adjacent to the open dunes. The work has been planned to ensure that native trees will still be present in the landscape and the remainder of the forest will be unaffected.

How will we complete the work?

The work will be completed by forestry contractors with the use of harvesting machinery. The resulting timber will be stacked within Harlech Forest before being fed into the timber supply chain. Forestry brash will also be removed as part of the contract.

Will there be temporary restrictions to the public?

Access to the work area will be restricted whilst operations take place for safety reasons, however, the rest of Harlech Forest will be open as normal.

When will the work start and how long will it last?

The works are proposed to start mid-February 2022 and are estimated to last around 4 to 5 weeks.

The work is being delivered to keep Morfa Harlech’s wonderful sand dune habitat healthy. Please keep an eye on our social media feeds where we’ll continue to post regular work updates. You can find us at @TwyniByw on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or by searching Sands of LIFE.

If you have any queries about the work, please contact Jake Burton at jake.burton@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

Explore more

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to receive monthly updates from Natural Resources Wales