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Why we should all learn to love and hug trees

Lay of the Land

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'Fellow tree-huggers should check out Tree Preservation Ireland, which welcomes folk from all walks of life who are united by a desire to protect our native trees in both city and country.'

'Fellow tree-huggers should check out Tree Preservation Ireland, which welcomes folk from all walks of life who are united by a desire to protect our native trees in both city and country.'

'Fellow tree-huggers should check out Tree Preservation Ireland, which welcomes folk from all walks of life who are united by a desire to protect our native trees in both city and country.'

Open trucks of felled trees routinely pass through this country town, reflecting how commercial forestry has become another branch of intensive farming, blanketing hills, former wilderness and farmland as investors avail of grants and tax relief. 

Yet many question whether the Sitka spruce that dominates Ireland's afforestation programme really solves our carbon crisis, given these non-native trees are felled after a few decades to become supply wood, much of it exported. Not to mention their impact on biodiversity and the environment - or the communities who live in their literal shadow. 

Certainly, planted forests are a far cry from the late folklorist Kevin Danaher's view that "trees which were a familiar part of our great-grandfather's landscape are still part of ours, familiar neighbours, almost friends, and there are few of us who have not been saddened when one of these friends is blown down by a storm or felled for its timber".