During the last few centuries, the forest cover of Ireland went down to just 1% in 1929 from 80% initially. Indeed, human beings have proved to be cruel when it comes to trees! However, the nation has been able to increase its forest cover since then. In 2012, it has been estimated that forests covered 10.5% of the total land area in the country.
Despite the fact that the forest cover of Ireland has been estimated to be at its peak during the past 350 years, it is far behind the European average of more than 30%. What should be done by a tree-sparse nation in this case?
The answer to this question will be to plant more trees. In fact, Ireland is planning to do exactly that. According to the Irish Times, 22 million trees are going to be planted each year during the next 20 years so that the total number of new trees becomes 440 million by 2040.
Proposal for Climate Action Plan
A climate action plan was published by the government in June which proposed that trees will be planted on 8,000 hectares each year; however, it did not go into detail regarding the number and type of trees.
At present, some details have been fleshed out by them, estimating the requirement of 2,500 conifers to be planted on each hectare along with 3,300 trees with broad leaves.
As per a spokeswoman of the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment, the new forestation targets the planting of around 22 million trees every year. She further added that the Climate Action Plan aims to expand soil management and tree planting to guarantee that the carbon depletion from land usage is achieved over the period from 2021 to 2030 and beyond.
According to a study conducted recently, one of the best strategies for mitigating climate change will be to restore the trees. And since then, a lot of attention has been given to massive efforts on tree-planting.
However, according to some individuals, one trillion trees will not be adequate and we still need to reduce carbon emissions. Therefore, it will be a good idea for Ireland’s plan to include other measures such as increasing the production of electric cars.
The initiative for reforestation/afforestation will be requiring certain land-use changes; particularly, it will be imperative for the farmers to designate a portion of their land to fresh trees. Nevertheless, the farming community is not much interested in this.
And it is fact that it is not just farmers who are not happy about it. According to the IWT (Irish Wildlife Trust), the out-of-place conifer forests are not providing the proper ingredients for habitat for the indigenous species. Also, non-native species are not faring that well.
Pádraic Fogarty, an IWT campaign official, informed The Irish Independent that individuals aren’t good when it comes to planting trees and trees don’t prefer to be planted. They like to plant on their own.
A better technique has been suggested by Fogarty which will be to pay the farmers not for planting new trees, but for planting nothing at all. Their land should be allowed to rewild.
He added that we are suffering from a mental blockage regarding allowing nature to perform its thing. We come across an area recovered by nature and we are of the notion that it is nothing but a wasteland. We want to bring the area “under control”; on the other hand, the forest would be restored on its own in case we simply left it alone.
He has undoubtedly got a fantastic point; nature is aware of what it is doing. However, the question that arises is that whether we can allow nature to do things according to its preference.