Our mission at LoveTrees.ie is to establish and grow Irish native forestry. Ireland has the lowest forest cover of all European countries: approximately 11% compared to an European average of well over 30%.
Over the centuries, Ireland experienced a near-total destruction of its forests mainly because of human activity and a deterioration of the climate: from an initial forest cover of around 80% to less than 1%. Ireland is the only country in Europe where such complete forest destruction took place.
Initially, the Irish State carried out most tree planting to stop Ireland's deforestation and to decrease Ireland's timber dependency. Most of these state forests were established on mountain land and consist mainly of exposure-tolerant, fast-growing conifers - a species of tree known as Sitka Spruce.
Sitka Spruce is fast growing, but it is a non-native tree. Sitka Spruce also offers little to no environmental benefits - it provides little for wildlife and damages the soil which it is planted on. There has been plenty of media coverage on the planting of Sitka Spruce in Ireland:
"Ireland’s native woodlands are quietly disappearing..."
"Semi-natural broadleaf forests make up just 2 per cent of our tree cover."
"A recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report recently warned of increasing deforestation– mainly involving broadleaved woodlands..."
Source: The Irish Times
Furthermore, we feel the Irish forestry industry is failing to see the wood through the trees (pun intended) when it comes to planting forestry. LoveTrees.ie wish to plant native woodland, with the intention of ensuring the forest is never cut down (a forestry management technique known as Continuous Cover Forestry).
Our core objective is to establish new native woodland forests that are both commercially viable and sustainable.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Chinese Proverb