16 Aug 2022

Wild About Wildlife: ‘Trees for the Land’ in Doon

Wild About Wildlife: ‘Trees for the Land’ in Doon

A mature tree can absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air

Doon Social Farm have been busy creating new habitats for wildlife by planting over a thousand native trees on the farm. These trees were provided through “trees for the land”.

This is a cross border initiative that is working to establish native trees across all 32 counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Trees for land provides simple schemes for landowners to access quality native trees mixes each season. They work with farmers, smallholders, community groups, councils, schools, colleges, sports clubs and landowners to coordinate sites to accommodate trees.

Their vision is to establish tree cover and woodland in rural and urban areas that will grow for many years and provide valuable community, ecological and biodiversity resources. This will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

They plant small woodlands, orchards, hedgerows, shelter belts, coppice, wood-pasture, agro-forestry, individual trees, rows and avenues of trees, landscape and amenity trees, reforestation sites and larger woodlands. They have planted more than a million trees at several thousand sites since 2013.

Trees for the land run an annual tree planting event where landowners and groups of helpers turn out to plant their trees on a selected Saturday in February. This year due to Covid-19 the community planting day could not take place.

While planting a few trees can be done by one person planting a forest is a community affair and needs a little more help. Thankfully help was on hand from the transition and fourth year students from Scoil Na Tríonóide Naofa.

With their teacher James they arrived with spades, shovels and plenty of enthusiasm. This was also their first day back in school after a three month lockdown. The return of the students as well as the swallows brings a sense of normality back into everyone lives.

The social farm is a brilliant outdoor learning environment and there is plenty of room to safely social distance. Plans are already under way for the development of a dedicated outdoor classroom and in the coming years this will help students and the wider community learn about biodiversity and the environment.

On the day of the big planting we had an early start to make sure all the trees and spades were in place. The new hedgerow will in time provide a valuable habitat for birds, insects, mammals and insects.

This will also connect up the different habitats on the farm and bats will navigate along the hedgerow at night.

The students planted hawthorn, blackthorn, alder, and birch, oak, hazel and apple trees. These species will provide a succession of flowers, berries, nuts and insects through the year, helping to feed, shelter and protect wildlife.

We first demonstrated the ‘T’ method of planting trees. This is used by foresters and is a quick and efficient way of planting a large number of trees. The students were soon into the swing of things and the trees were flying into the ground.

Even the gods were on our side. Just as we finished the heavens opened and the heavy shower helped settle in the trees.

Thanks to the staff and students Scoil Na Tríonóide Naofa for all their help not only with the trees but throughout the year on the farm.

Trees on the Land is a charity and not for profit project from the Green Economy Foundation in collaboration with The Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland.

For more, email or phone 089 4230502.

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