Strategy to plant 7,000 acres of native trees
Published 02/08/2016 | 02:30
A thousand years after Ireland's forests were torn down, our ancient oak trees are being brought back to life.
Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't Oliver Cromwell who ploughed down our native forests, but cattle farmers looking for land.
The Native Woodlands Strategy - to be rolled out over four years - will create hundreds of jobs in forestry and eco-tourism. Under the scheme, close to 7,000 acres of new native woodland will be planted by 2020 and 4,800 acres of existing woodland will be restored.
Currently, only 2pc of Ireland's land mass is covered with native trees, making it the least wooded country in Europe, even though 80pc of the island was covered in native woodlands some 6,000 years ago. The project will draw on €23m in EU funding and the trees are expected to mature in about 40 years.