Cork’s Former 8ac Site Set to Bloom into Enchanting Educational Woodland

"Hometree Acquires 8ac Site in Co. Cork to Establish Educational Woodland and Promote Native Woodland Conservation in Ireland"

Hometree, a not-for-profit organization based in Co. Clare, has recently acquired an 8-acre site near Donoughmore in Co. Cork. The site will be transformed into an educational woodland, with the aim of establishing and conserving permanent native woodland in Ireland. Hometree plans to use the amenity to host school and college groups, as well as to showcase to farmers how they can integrate native trees into intensive farming systems.

According to Hometree staff, their long-term plan is to restore 4,000 acres of wild woodland along the west coast of Ireland. This ambitious project, known as the Wild Atlantic Rainforest Project, will span eight sites from Cork to Donegal. It is worth noting that up to 80% of Ireland was once covered in wild forests of birch, pine, and oak. However, today, only 1% of these forests remain, existing as fragments in gullies, cliff faces, and secluded islands.

Ray Ó’Foghlu, Hometree’s farm programs coordinator from Co. Cork, highlighted the importance of integrating native trees into farming systems. He stated that while it may not be feasible for farmers to block out large areas with trees, there are various ways to incorporate native trees that can benefit the farm system. The new location in Donoughmore will be used as a demonstration site to showcase these advantages.

Ó’Foghlu explained that integrating native trees can be as simple as planting lines or groups of trees in corners of fields or scattering individual trees throughout the pasture. Native trees have multiple benefits for the environment, including improved water quality and increased biodiversity. Additionally, cattle can benefit from the presence of trees as they provide shelter and the foliage can be browsed for minerals that may not be available elsewhere at certain times of the year.

In order to support their restoration efforts, Hometree has hired a full-time seed collector. This individual is responsible for visiting remote valleys, sheltered hollows, and ravines along Ireland’s west coast to collect ancient and rare seed specimens. These seeds will be used to propagate native trees, ensuring the preservation and expansion of Ireland’s woodland.

Hometree’s acquisition of the site in Co. Cork marks an important step in their mission to restore and conserve native woodland in Ireland. Through education and demonstration, they hope to inspire farmers and the wider community to embrace the integration of native trees into their land, ultimately contributing to the preservation of Ireland’s natural heritage.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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