Welsh pledge national support to tackle forest destruction

An area of African tropical forest the size of Wales is set to be safeguarded, thanks to an army of Welsh environmentalists and volunteers.

Launched earlier this month the Size of Wales project is calling on all Welsh organisations and individuals to "mobilise a national response to climate change" by working on conservation projects in Africa and making donations towards their running.

"An area the size of Wales is frequently used to measure the rate of forest destruction around the world," said Size of Wales project manager, Hannah Scrase.

"This project turns the negative use of our nation's size on its head and encourages people to help."

She added that the aim of the project was to reap benefits for communities both in Africa and at home.

"Wales is the first country in the world to mobilise such a unique national response to the problem of forest destruction and climate change," Ms Scrase said.

"By protecting 2million hectares of rainforest, we hope to make lasting links with forest projects in Africa."

Organisers of the scheme claim projects are already being delivered underneath the Size of Wales banner, with many UK-based charities working in partnership with African organisations to provide technical support, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

Existing projects include one being delivered by the charity PONT (Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust), helping to plant hundreds of thousands of trees in Mbale, Uganda; and a further scheme being run by business moguls Deloitte, to help people in Tanzania's Rubeho Forest to save more than 1.7m tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Adding a little celebrity support to the initiative is Welsh superstar Tom Jones, who sits as vice-chair of the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action - the organisation managing Size of Wales.

He said: "Size of Wales inspires and enables a whole nation - consumers, employees, towns and villages; schools, companies, regional and local governments - to come together to defend Africa's tropical forest as part of a national effort to help tackle climate change."

"Supporters of the Size of Wales will be linked directly to forest projects and communities in Africa. We aim to find organisations and individuals within the Welsh community who can support these projects."

Sam Plester


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