The Green Planet in Wales

Blog written by volunteer Cai Davies

What would a Green Planet episode recorded in Wales look like?

Water Lilies

David Attenborough is presenting a new series called the Green Planet. Similar to Blue Planet, it focuses on the plant kingdom around the world and highlights various interesting species such as the giant water lilies. Showing how diverse our planet is, episode one is set in the jungle while, episode two takes place underwater. Whilst watching the series, I thought it would be fun to imagine a Green Planet episode focused on Wales. 

Even though we don’t have any jungles, we still have an incredible array of flora for a documentary camera to record. Wales has lots of different environments; coasts, mountains, bogs and forests. In fact, there are 23 Important Plant Areas in Wales as defined by Plantlife, a conservation charity and partner of Climate Cymru. 

The Water around Wales

Off the Welsh coast, which stretches for over 2,000km, the episode could cover how seaweed farms are being built to provide carbon-friendly food. This reduces the load on agricultural land and is an important innovation at a time when scientists recommend we need to diversify our sources of food. There has also been a large project in Wales to plant seagrass, which can capture carbon quickly and act as an important marine habitat for marine animals.

You can see more about the marine environment around Wales in the BBC Documentary Wonders of the Celtic Deep.

Trees in Wales

A lot of forests in Wales are resources, grown specifically for Forestry, so it is important that actual woodland is cared for and increased. The good news is that recently there are also schemes such as in Elan Valley where non-native Larch trees (which are becoming infected with diseases) are being replaced with native broadleaves. In terms of reforestation, the Senedd has announced an innovative scheme so that every household in Wales will be offered a free tree. This one can be planted in your own garden, or to have it located in a new forest. Specifically for our Welsh Green Planet episode, it could be addressed Wales’ remnants of the Oak forests that used to cover a lot of Western European coasts. Often called Temperate Rainforests, can be found in places such as the Meirionydd Oakwoods. These would look incredible on film.

Peat Bogs

Peat bogs are a fascinating habitat within Wales that definitely deserve a bit of attention, especially because they are at risk due to industrial extraction of the peat, which is broken down plant matter, for compost. Wales has committed to tackling this issue, which is important because Peat Bogs can be major carbon sinks, but if treated improperly, they can go the other way and emit carbon. They are also a habitat for rare and endangered plants. Sundews, which live in bogs, even eat insects to supplement their diet. The Ceredigion Bogs are an example of an Important Plant Area but may be a difficult place for a camera to get into without some waterproofs. 


The famous rare Welsh Snowdon Lily lives in mountainous environments around Snowdon. But like many species, it is at risk due to climate change. An iconic plant in Wales, it is an example of a plant that evolved during the last glacial period and now is restricted to colder mountainous environments, some Snowdonian Saxifrages also fall into this type of plant, referred to as arctic-alpine plants. Alpine plants are going to be smaller because of the conditions they live in, but they’re still beautiful! 

Why Document?

Documenting the nature around us is important, especially as the Welsh Government has declared both a Nature and Climate emergency. They have announced that ‘targeted, green investment of more than £160m revenue and a total investment of £1.8bn capital will be committed over the next three years.’ The WWF, a partner of Climate Cymru, released a State of Nature report for Wales in 2019 that said 666 of assessed species were at risk of extinction.

Documenting raises the profile of greenery and wildlife, which is important to protect as more greenspace means less risk of flooding, preventing the urban heat effect, less pollution and more wildlife. Hopefully, future documentaries and future generations in Wales will have even more greenery to explore. 

Other sources:,Wales%20net%20zero%20by%202050.

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