Petition To

Save and Restore our Native Forests

Change Climate – Fix Native Forests First

Please Sign and Save Our Ancient Forests

Signatures Goal: 100,000

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To : The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, The Minister for Agriculture, The Minister for the Environment, The Minister for Heritage, Culture and the Arts and The Minister for Finance:

 
As a matter of urgency, The Woodland League, dedicated to restoring the relationship between people and their native Woodlands, a not for profit environmental NGO are calling for three immediate government Actions to conserve, restore, and expand our Native Woodlands.
 
1. The expansion of our Ancient Woodlands, by land purchase and or use of adjacent Coillte and other Public lands, drafting of long term management plans for each site, and adequate multi annual funding to achieve the aforementioned. With a target of 5% Ancient Woodland cover by 2030. Using assisted natural regeneration methods of plant succession with proper fencing protection to allow space for Nature the chief Forester to weave it’s magic.
 
2. The Creation of linear native Woodland corridors, after mapping using the EPA mapped water catchments as the framework, in and between the pockets of Ancient Woodlands, so that there is connectivity for the complex biodiversity to move across the land, aiding wildlife, water and soil protection, flood and climate mitigation, landscape enhancement, with multiple benefits for local communities. To be implemented by a partnership of, farmers, local community groups, GAA, NGO’s, Councils, and relevant state bodies, a Public – Public partnership.
 
3. Reform of Coillte, the Irish Forestry Board, in charge of 7% of Ireland’s Public forest land, changing their narrow failed forestry remit, to ensure they are compelled to participate and fully support the first two actions. Starting with transitioning 27,000 ha identified as old Woodland sites on the Public forest lands, and targeting the 250,000 acres of failed Coillte conifer plantations identified in the McCarthy report on state assets in 2010. 
 
Please Sign our Petition above to support this campaign and speak up for our Native Forests.
 

Why we need to save and restore our native forests:

“Native Woodlands are the Highest expression of Natural Vegetation with the greatest amount of Biodiversity on this Island” Dr. John Cross, ex Senior Native Woodland Specialist, NPWS. Only 2% of Ireland’s land mass  consists of semi natural and native Woodland cover, most of it recently planted or naturally regenerated, much of it isolated, fragmented and far from a satisfactory condition.
 
It is also mostly young Woodland and has not achieved the complexity of relationships or highest nature value of our remnant shreds of Ancient Woodlands, these occupy,.less than 0.2% of the land mass. This is a National scandal.
 
Our native Woodlands are part of the very fabric of our collective cultural and natural heritage, their protection and restoration are fundamental to our collective future on this Island. To put this into perspective in terms of native Biodiversity, 20% of plant life, 28% breeding birds, 50% invertebrates are native Woodland species (John Cross, 2012)
 
Urgent action is required to Prioritise, Protect and Expand this vital precious and vulnerable vital natural resource to secure their multiple known benefits into the future.
 
Threats to this Native Tree Treasure include, agriculture, development, and wind farms.
 
Ref, EPA 21st Century Deforestation, 2017 

Supporting information:

Michael Collins quote on biodiversity.

“Our object in building up the country economically must not be lost sight of. That object is not to be able to boast of enormous wealth or of a great volume of trade, for their own sake. It is not to see our country covered with smoking chimneys and factories. It is not to show a great national balance-sheet, nor to point to a people producing wealth with the self-obliteration of a hive of bees”. from path to freedom speeches of Michael Collins.

https://celt.ucc.ie/published/E900001-001.html 

Ireland’s Biodiversity reporting to the UN to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity shows a continuous decline in species and habitats including rare Ancient Woodlands. https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/ie/ie-nr-05-en.pdf

Under the Irish states, CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) UN and EU Legal commitments, a new 10 year biodiversity restoration strategy will have to be implemented during the period  2021 – 2030, our proposals fit this objective completely.

Native Woodlands are the key to Biodiversity on Land: https://youtu.be/nopewmqHxN0

What the Woodland League are proposing and have a model for, in our Great Forest of Aughty project in East Clare, South Galway. This model is supported by Scottish woodland research, as the most effective methodology for Native woodland restoration.

The current use of Public Funds for Native Woodland Restoration, is being conducted in an unfocused, ad hoc way. Many new woodlands are isolated on exposed sites, open to the elements, with deer and hare predation, producing questionable results.

Great Forest of Aughty animation video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olPlB8YCiTY

Article about the Aughty project in this Global Forest Coalition, Forest Cover magazine link in 2016: https://globalforestcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/forestcover-50-online.pdf

The Woodland League are members of the Global Forest Coalition: https://globalforestcoalition.org/about-us

Current approaches to native Woodland restoration in Scotland. In particular, the integration of Woodlands into habitat networks, increasing ecological connectivity between Woodland fragments, is considered essential to ensure success in the long term. This provides scientific validation for our proposal for the creation of linear native Woodland corridorsRef: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03746600108685021


The 1988 Forestry Act, which established Coillte is not fit for purpose, this was confirmed by the All party Oireachtas Climate Committee report recommendations, who also called for riparian linear native Woodlands, and more ref :https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/press-centre/press-releases/20190329-oireachtas-joint-committee-on-climate-action-publishes-final-report/
 
The McCarthy report on state assets in 2011 found that 500,000 acres of the Coillte public forest estate was not commercially viable. Refer to Section 11 and Appendix 8, Ref: http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2011/04/stateassetsrep.pdf
 
Swiss TV piece on the Woodland League, Save Ireland’s Forests campaign http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSJZu6PdJzs

About Us

The Woodland League is a not-for-profit, independent, community-based organisation. Our aim is to restore the relationship between people and their native Woodlands and ensure their restoration and conservation. visit www.woodlandleague.org to discover more about our work.

Latest Signatures
2,480 Stephen F. May 11, 2021
2,479 Ciaran M. May 10, 2021
2,478 Fionnuala O. May 10, 2021
Latest Signatures
2,480 Stephen F. May 11, 2021
2,479 Ciaran M. May 10, 2021
2,478 Fionnuala O. May 10, 2021

About Us

The Woodland League is a not-for-profit, independent, community-based organisation. Our aim is to restore the relationship between people and their native woodlands and ensure their restoration and conservation. visit www.woodlandleague.org to discover more about our work.