Did you know that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have the lowest forest cover of all of European countries. Land coverage in the Republic is 11%, and although the U.K. Total is higher, Northern Ireland's individual statistics place it below 10%. Meanwhile over 40% of the land in the rest of the European countries is wooded.
Co. Wicklow in Ireland has the highest forest coverage with Co. Meath at the lowest. These forests are mostly man-made and the ancient forests of Ireland are almost entirely a thing of legend. Government policy is aiming to bring the percentage up to 17%.
Over the centuries, Ireland experienced a near total destruction of its forests, mainly because of human activity and climate change; from an initial forest coverage of almost 80% to less than 1%. Ireland was the only country in Europe where complete destruction took place. Segments of our ancient woods remain, such as the hazel woods of the Burren, yew woods in Co. Galway and oak woods in Killarney National Park. Such woods are always worth a visit as they offer us a glimpse of what their ancient predecessors were like.
For the Emerald Isle we seem to be known more for rolling grassy fields not the Irish Oak forests we claim as heritage. Animal agriculture and centuries of conflict and destruction have left Ireland's forests all but clear, as we remove trees to make way for grazing or timber. When we think of the importance of woodland not just for combating climate change but for the habitats it provides for wildlife, and the many mental and physical benefits being in nature provides for humans it is shocking to think that we are not doing more to turn this around.
the government target of 17% is a great start. But when you hear that once this beautiful island had a coverage of 80% it makes you question many things.
As of Autumn 2018 Clear Ripple Projects has launched its own tree planting campaign.
Trees planted from October 2018 to date : 91
Including Apple trees, Horse Chestnut, Oak and Maple