This week on Ocean FM we talked about the importance of native trees and ways to increase forested areas across the North West
Did you know?
- 11% of the land mass of Ireland is covered by forest – in comparison to an average among EU countries of 35%
- It is important to plant trees in the right areas. Many deep peatlands have been planted with trees in the past. In these areas trees add to greenhouse gases by drying out the soils which releases the large amounts of carbon stored in the peat
- Trees are very important for water quality; trees growing along river banks stabilise the soil in those areas and prevents it from being washed into nearby lakes, rivers and streams.
- We need more trees across Ireland. They absorb carbon gases that add to climate change and they also prevent loss of carbon gases by stabilising soil in the areas when they are planted in the right areas
- Deadwood in our forests are really important for all kinds of insects and fungus that are an essential part of the food web
Why is this important?
- Broadleaved trees currently comprise only 29% of the total forestry cover in Ireland
- Trees can help counteract increased flooding that is likely to occur as a result of changes to our weather. As well as slowing down the flow of water after heavy rain, they can help to dry out soils in areas prone to flooding through evapotranspiration – increasing the rate at which the roots draw moisture from the soil, up the tree and release it out to the atmosphere through the leaves
- Having more connected areas of woodland – instead of fragmented pockets, will help larger animals to thrive in these areas and increase biodiversity
- Larger areas of forest are more resilient and will be better able to withstand and adapt to the challenges posed by changes in our climate
What can I do?
- Communities can look into planting small areas of trees. These can be managed for biodiversity as they grow by installing bat and bird boxes or by suffusing them with fungal spores to grow mushrooms
- Landowners can consider planting stands of hazel or other fast growing trees for use as biomass for energy generation or grow trees for timber
- If you live near a river, stream or lake consider planting trees along the edges of watercourses or if you don’t have room for trees, see if you could plant some smaller woody native shrubs such as spindle or guelder rose in your garden
- Farmers with watercourses on their land can plant trees along the banks to prevent loss of nutrients and soil
- If you already have a forested area on your land, consider introducing more native species, adding beehives or making boreholes in trees for use by birds, bats and insects
For More Information
Guide to Irish trees
Information on planting along watercourses: Woodland for water scheme
Forestry Programme 2023-1027
Grant Information for the New Forestry Programme