I and my Green Party colleagues are seeking support for a new plan for Irish forestry to tackle our biodiversity as well as climate crisis.
In our Dáil motion we are calling for a switch away from short rotation plantations to more natural woodlands. Rather than just focusing on short-rotation plantations and lumber production we want our trees to address the biodiversity as well as the climate crises that we face.
The expansion in commercial forests has come at the expense of our wildlife. It is now time to change our ways and restore nature in every Irish landscape, neighborhood, farm, home and street.
The forestry sector has delivered a huge increase in plantations but the next stage for the industry will be a switch to a more diversified and natural forestry model which increases other flora and fauna and helps restore our local communities.
Central to our motion is the setting of a new national land use plan which plots out how we can manage all our land in this better way. Some areas are going to be rewilded, other areas will see the self-seeding of native woodlands, and in other areas we will be managing the forests in a way that allows light in and a mixed canopy develop which produces high-quality wood products and beautiful forests to walk within.
We would start the ball rolling by commissioning every single farm across the country to plant a special hectare of native woodland which helps us meet our immediate climate targets and helps create wildlife corridors that also help improve water quality and our flood management systems.
Every other party is now saying they want to adopt the green agenda. We say welcome aboard and let’s use this moment to completely change our relationship with and stewardship of the natural world. It will increase our resilience to climate change, rely on nature to help us reduce our emissions and take carbon back out of the atmosphere, and restore some of the habitats and species we have lost. In doing so it will provide new economic opportunities in rural areas, and improve quality of life for all.
Click here to read the full text of the motion.