The view from a small corner of Anglesey...
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The CCW have expressed concerns about the effects of the forest on the warren. These are interfering with the normal geomorphological processes of sand dune and shoreline development as well as lowering the water table in the dune slacks.
The current forest management plan has now expired and is under review by the FC. In 2004 CCW presented a plan to address these problems and remove large parts of the forest and convert other parts to willow scrub.
Click on image to go to CCW document
Perhaps also underlying this plan was the EU habitat directive requiring the restoration of 300ha of dune slack in Wales. Newborough Forest occupies 600ha of sand dune, so removing half as proposed would meet the EU Habitat objective. As well this the proposed plan would meet the Welsh Assemblies objective of increasing the proportion of native tree species in Welsh forests.
When presented to the local community the plan caused much consternation for the local community and conservationists, the main objections being lack of access and the destruction of habitat for the largest Raven colony in Europe and for the endangered Red squirrel. This resulted in CCW withdrawing their plans and the FC consulting with the local community and stakeholders, which is still on going.
From my own view point the argument that the forest is seriously affecting the hydrology of the main part of the warren is not proved and plans to replace aging corsican pine with young willow scrub might make matters worse.
Research was commissioned by CCW, which involved some geophysics, monitoring water tables and computer modelling of ground water flows. This research was conducted by Dr Charlie Bristow, Birbeck College, UCL. This research however has some flaws especially in the calculation of evaporation, and did not review trends in other sand dune systems in the UK. In addition CCW have not been monitoring the water table nor surveying the vegetation since 1996.
The full reasoning behind my early critisims of the CCW hydrological research at Newborough are on this web page,
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Copyright © Martin Hollingham