Limerick forests lead the way in climate change fight

Rebecca Laffan

Reporter:

Rebecca Laffan

Email:

rebecca.laffan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick forests lead the way in climate change fight

Limerick’s forests are absorbing millions of tonnes of CO2 and are helping lead the way in the fight against climate change. 

There is almost 28,000 hectares of forestry in Limerick, which occupies 10.4% of the county. 

These trees absorb an extra 129,600 tonnes of CO2 each year from the atmosphere which equates to the amount of CO2 emitted by nearly 24,000 homes. 

Mark McAuley, Director of Forest Industries Ireland said: “Put another way, that’s the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the roads. The trees in Limerick are absorbing that much CO2.

“If we look at the timber products coming out of the forest estate in Limerick you are talking about 1.52 million cubic meters of timber will be harvested in Limerick in the next ten years – that’s 1.52 million tonnes of harmful CO2 locked away.

“Managed forests are particularly good at absorbing CO2 as they grow fast and when they are felled the CO2 is stored in long-life timber products,” he added. 

“Then the trees are planted again and you get a second load of CO2 being taken out of the atmosphere. 

“Effectively, you get a ratchet effect’ where the total CO2 sequestration keeps ratcheting up between the trees in the forest and the wood products in use.”

Forests are a natural carbon capture and storage system that will benefit the whole world for generations to come, and are the most scalable of climate change solutions and one of the easiest ways for the county to deal with its harmful emissions. 

Mr McAuley said: “We have the best conditions in the world for growing trees and a world class forest industry that the country can be proud of.

”The sitka spruce tree grows fast and is what we need to produce construction timber. 

“Houses all over the country are built with our sitka spruce. Sitka is the workhorse of the forestry sector; it is often compared to the Friesian cow for the Irish dairy sector given the thousands of jobs it has helped to create in rural Ireland.”