Posted on: Saturday 5 June 2021
It's World Environment Day and this year's theme is ecosystem restoration. Local Nature Partnership Coordinator Veronika Brannovic explains why ecosystems are important and what's being done in Torfaen to develop them...
Ecosystems are places where plants, animals and other life forms live together in a web of life. They can be large, like a woodland, or small like a pond or rotting log. For example, a pond ecosystem would include the pond, frogs, toads, newts, dragonflies, damselflies, water insects like diving beetles, water snails, plants and microscopic creatures, as well as birds or other animals that use the pond for water, food or nesting.
In Torfaen the main ecosystems are woodlands, like Blaen Bran and Herbert's Wood; wetlands, including Garn Lakes, Keepers Pond, Llantarnam Pond and the Afon Llwyd; grasslands, for example the meadows at Llwyncelyn and Cwmynyscoy local nature reserves and roadside verges; uplands and peatlands, like the area around The Keepers and areas of The British; urban including gardens, parks, hedges and street trees; and farmland
Ecosystem restoration includes activities that restore and enhance any of these, for instance, managing the woodland or grassland to improve it for wildlife, restoring hedges and planting trees, creating or restoring ponds, restoring the river bank or providing nesting sites for birds.
It is also important to try to connect these ecosystems together and that’s where verges, hedgerows, streams and canal are important. In Torfaen, through Welsh Government Local Places for Nature, Heritage Lottery Fund and Local Nature Partnership funding, we have been helping to restore and connect grasslands and woodlands.
For example, 5000 hawthorn trees have been planted as a hedgerow linking two existing hedgerows near the Folly tower, grassland at Blaensychan has been restored by removing scrub (more work to do here if anyone wants to volunteer!), tree planting at Grange Road and St David's Road, and the development of wildflower meadows and verges throughout Torfaen.
The Resilient Uplands project has also worked with local farmers to restore and enhance farmland and uplands in the region.
Torfaen Council has helped to support this work by reducing grass cutting in local greenspaces and along roadside verges that connect grasslands together, planting trees and hedgerows to link up woodlands and by restoring the ponds in Pontypool Park.
Over the next few months I will be working to plant more trees, including fruit trees, developing a Nature Recovery Action Plan for Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent, setting up a Local Action for Nature Forum for people practically involved in looking after land for wildlife or interested in learning about it.
If you would like to get involved in the forum click here. Or follow BG and Torfaen Local Nature Partnership or Local Nature Partnership Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter @BGTorfaenLNP