Native woodlands are an invaluable and precious resource.
Here in Ireland we have gone from having 80% of our land originally covered in native ancient woodland to a mere 2% currently.
Native broad leaf woodlands have so much to offer us both individually and as a society..
In reality they are a much undervalued precious resource, from the infinite enjoyment and relaxation to be had from a walk through a sun dappled woodland of native Irish trees, to the purification of our air that we breathe.
The list of positive impacts they offer to us is astounding, and includes.
A vital habitat for our threatened wildlife
Sequestration of carbon
A place to relax and escape the pressures of modern life.
Shelter, in the form of effective windbreaks
Wildlife corridors, linking different areas of wildlife habitat.
A scenic amenity.
Stabilization of soil, where without the complex lattice network of tree roots, soil would otherwise be eroded.
We as a nation, and individually where possible, need to plant native trees and act to reinstate areas of native woodland as a matter of urgency.
Such positive action will bring all manner of rewards to us especially for future generations.
Planting a native tree is such a powerful action. The joy and satisfaction to be got from planting and watching a native tree grow is endless.. Native trees such as our wonderful and majestic Oak that supports and gives life to hundreds of other plant and animal species.
Or any of our other precious and gorgeous native tree species. Isn't it incredible to think that given the right location that tree you planted could live for up to a thousand years, continuously providing a habitat for all manner of native wildlife.
What a feeling of satisfaction to be had knowing you have created this environment for our wonderful wildlife to flourish.
We are in the process, now in late 2020, of planting eight acres of Native Woodland at Wildacres on what were previously heavily grazed fields. The species planted will be suited to the location and soil type and will be made up predominantly of Alder, Hazel and Downy Birch with pedunculate Oak, and Scots Pine for the drier areas. With a further mixture of Wild and Bird Cherry, Mountain Ash and Crab Apple for further diversity. There will be an under-story of Hawthorn , Holly and Guelder rose, again as the differing soil conditions dictate.
Alder, Hazel and Birch are quite fast growing so we hopefully will see good growth levels over the next few years and see the first signs of wildlife colonizing the site as growth progresses. In time Willow will self seed into the woodland as we have already large stands of it at Wildacres, mostly Salix caprea, Goat willow. Again a fast growing tree and so important for wildlife supporting and providing nearly as much wildlife habitat as our wonderful native oaks.
We will update the page as the foresters arrive on site, their first task will be to erect deer fencing to keep the deer out. Without such fencing the young trees would be decimated by deer browsing. This fencing must stay in place until the trees are old enough and their bark thick and tough enough to no longer be a attractive food source to the deer.
We dream ahead to the days when we can walk through this sun dappled native woodland, listening to the willow warblers singing and the woodpeckers drumming in Spring. Smelling the sweet smell of Hawthorn in bloom and the brilliant yellow of flag iris in full flower beneath the willow and maybe even catching a glimpse of a Pine Martin or a Red Squirrel.
Native Woodlands are such wondrous relaxing and magical places.