Dramatic new research, published in the journal ‘Science’ demonstrates the incredible powers of trees to drawdown carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The researchers suggested this should be among the priority actions in dealing with climate breakdown. The paper highlighted the enormous potential in Ireland in particular for new tree cover, something which could also address our crises in extinction, flooding and pollution.
IWT campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty says: “It’s now blindingly obvious that we need a programme to bring trees back to our landscapes on a vast scale. However we need to be strategic about how this is done. Planting monoculture plantations of conifers willy-nilly is not the solution and will only add to problems. We need a combination of approaches, based on native trees and ecological processes, to grow more trees in towns, cities and on farms. We can create large, permanent forests on public land, on uplands and along river corridors. We can have a commercial timber sector based on close-to-nature techniques and ‘continuous cover’. We should give more community say in the development of these woodlands to foster ownership and stewardship.”
While there is a place for planting trees, in most instances a process of natural generation of scrub should be encouraged. This is more effective and slashes costs while minimising the need for plastic tubes, herbicides etc. In most instances control of herbivores is all that’s needed to allow woodland to emerge. In this way trees are the cheapest, most popular and most effective tools in addressing our biodiversity and climate emergencies.