The Green Party has today welcomed Coillte’s new ‘Coillte Nature’ initiative and has called for the scheme to be extended across Ireland.
Responding to the announcement that ‘Coillte Nature’ will begin converting and developing forests to promote species diversity and recreational use, Green Party Spokesperson for Forestry Pippa Hackett today said:
“I welcome the announcement that the nine commercial forests in the Dublin Mountains will be converted for recreational use and the protection of biodiversity. I would like to see this type of approach extended and integrated into the all-of-Government Climate Action Plan published earlier in the week.
“We need a new forestry policy for Ireland. Instead of short rotation monoculture crops we should be planting diverse ‘continuous cover’ forests which store carbon and promote biodiversity and soil and water management. Action 110 of the all-of-Government plan will look to develop a roadmap to a land-use plan for Ireland. This type of initiative should be part of a wider approach to forestry policy in this country and this is the opportunity to make it happen.
“Some of our forests, particularly in the northwest of Ireland, could be managed in this way in the form of a new National Park, by switching to a ‘continuous cover’ rather than ‘clear felling’ model of forestry and ensuring that locals benefit first from any woodland activity in the area.
“Trees are worth far more as part of a forest park as a recreational facility rather than being chopped down for lumber, and new research has shown that as little as a two-hour ‘dose’ of nature a week can have dramatic positive health outcomes. We need more projects like this to allow people to make the most of local woodlands.”
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