Forests are 'depressing places' and are leading to the closure of schools, Leitrim group claims
'20pc of our land is already planted, we will fight to save the rest'- Save Leitrim protesters
Sitka spruce forests - made up of large, coniferous, evergreen trees - are “depressing places” which increase rural isolation and lead to the closure of primary schools, the Save Leitrim campaign group have claimed.
The group held a protest billed “Communities not Conifers” outside Leinster House against what they claim is the Government's misguided focus on the growing of monoculture conifer plantations in Leitrim.
Leitrim saw the highest amount of land being planted last year, with 536ha added to the county’s woodland. Leitrim now has 18.9pc of its land bank planted.
Edwina Guckian, founding member of the group told FarmIreland that the current forestry policy in Leitrim is having a negative impact on the mental health of people in the region.
“Forestry in Leitrim is not a rosy picture. Plantations aren’t doing anything to raise tourism. You’d be lucky to be able to crawl through them if you could get in at all. They are horrible dank, lifeless places to be and depressing to look at. People are completely surrounded by forests in the county,” she said.
“The darkness and lack of light that trees cause really affects people. People have also said that they feel threatened by foresters when they try to object to it.”
Justin Warnock from Kinlough claimed that the government’s forestry policy is targeted at Leitrim and has led to the closure of primary schools. He said that the group is determined that no one more trees are planted in the county.
“We have 20pc forestry -we want no more tree of any sort planted. We have got to a stage in Leitrim where our primary schools are closing because of all the afforestation. If 20pc of the county is planted, you’ve lost 20pc of the people,” he said.