Diseased larch trees to be felled in Lampeter forest

Diseased larch trees will be felled in a forest on the outskirts of Lampeter towards the end of 2021, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has said.

The forest - which is comprised of Upper Forest, Lower Forest and Lodge Wood forest blocks – surrounds both sides of Forest Road as it leaves the mid Wales Town.

Trees in the forest are infected with Phytophthora Ramorum, commonly known as larch disease. In 2013, surveys identified that the disease was spreading rapidly across forestry in Wales, sparking a nationwide strategy to remove diseased trees to stop it spreading further.

Where there is high concentration of larch, every tree will be felled other than large and healthy broadleaf trees. In cases where there is low larch concentration, the larch will be selectively felled, allowing broadleaf trees to continue growing. Sections which have no larch trees will be thinned in line with standard forest management practices.

After the felling has taken place, the clear-felled sections will be replanted with native broadleaf tree species. This will eventually restore ancient woodland features to the area and will help local biodiversity to flourish.

The felling is necessary for two key reasons. Firstly, the trees will eventually die if left to stand and will pose a safety risk to people who use the forest.

Secondly, NRW is legally required to comply with a Statutory Plants Health Notice that has been placed on the forest which requires that the affected trees are destroyed.

Felling the trees while they are still in a saleable condition also allows NRW – as the manager of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate – to sell the felling rights for the timber. The funds raised from selling felling rights is immediately re-invested into the estate, allowing NRW to manage their forests sustainably.

NRW will put the felling rights for the forest up for sale in July 2021 and contractors would be expected to start work before the end of the year. In line with standard practice, the contractor will have six months to complete the work, including haulage of the timber.

Marius Urwin, Team Leader for Forest Operations in South Mid Wales for NRW said,
“It’s unfortunate that the only option we have to limit the spread of the disease is to fell the larch trees. We fully appreciate that clear-felling parts of forest will have a significant visual impact on the area.
“We can’t yet confirm exactly when the felling will take place, but we will be updating residents as that information becomes clear. This work may cause some disruption, but I can assure residents that we will put conditions in place to reduce the impact of the work on the community."