Each year many of the Local Nature Partnerships in the LNP Cymru project distribute grant funding to other organisations and communities who are carrying out projects to improve ecosystem resilience in their area.
In March 2020, the Pembrokeshire LNP used this grant scheme to coordinate the planting of 1,300 trees on land owned by Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) near Wolfcastle.
Pembrokeshire LNP were supported by the national charity Tir Coed and worked with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) volunteers, Hywel Dda NHS Health Board staff, Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) and a local farm business (Pembrokeshire Lamb).
By the people of Pembrokeshire, for the people of Pembrokeshire
This project came about because a local midwife was inspired by the Plant! scheme, where a tree is planted for every child born in Wales. The local midwife reached out to Pembrokeshire LNP, suggesting that this scheme could be applied to Pembrokeshire.
1,300 trees were therefore planted to reflect the number of babies born in Pembrokeshire each year. The aim is to plant a similar number of trees every year going forward, so that eventually a thriving woodland will be created, planted by the people of Pembrokeshire, for the people of Pembrokeshire.
By working with the Health Board and midwifery unit at Withybush hospital, the project has also acted as a catalyst for further change. The woodland will be promoted as a place for new parents and families to visit and NHS staff will engage new parents in discussions around sustainable parenting, encouraging them to make informed choices on the upbringing of their children by taking the environment into consideration.
Connectivity and Flood Prevention
The project was not only great for the people of Pembrokeshire, but also for biodiversity. As Ant Rogers, the Biodiversity Implementation Officer for Pembrokeshire LNP notes, “the new woodland is important for biodiversity because it will join two blocks of woodland and therefore provide crucial connectivity for woodland species.
“Birds, bats, other mammals, invertebrates, plants and fungi will benefit from the increased size, connectivity and diversity of the woodland.
“Additionally, the woodland has been planted near the Cleddau River Special Area of Conservation. This area is prone to flooding, so the newly planted trees will intercept overland flow of water during heavy rainfall and increase infiltration. This will help to prevent future flooding and reduce soil loss, thereby also protecting the soil resource and water quality.”
Due to the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, the tree planting event was scaled back and restricted to a smaller group observing social distancing. However, the trees were successfully planted before lockdown restrictions came into force.