The Pontbren Project is an innovative approach using woodland management and tree planting to improve the efficiency of upland livestock farming. In 2001 the Pontbren farmers came together as a group of ten, managing a total of 1000 ha of farmland across the catchment
. Over the past 15 years their innovations have been subject to field research on the environmental benefits of trees on farms. Trees and woodlands are now an integral part of farm management in Pontbren demonstrating the benefits for upland livestock farming, water management, wildlife and landscape.
The Pontbren project worked because it was led throughout by the farmers who actively took an innovative approach, and who were willing and able to interest and involve others in active collaboration. The undoubted success of Pontbren in agricultural, environmental, scientific and social terms has provided some critical lessons for farmers and policy makers seeking a better way of delivering essential environmental services as part of productive upland livestock farming in the UK.