Emerald Heritage | Why Ireland has no Trees
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Why Ireland has no Trees

Ah Ireland, that beautiful blanket of green fields and dense forests, or maybe not? 

The Emerald Isle we know and love is still green and a quick look at images of Ireland from above will pay testament to that to this day but her forestry is another matter… 

As we noted before, in 2016

“From above, Ireland still appears to be the perfect patchwork quilt of varying shades of green but now, our homeland has the second smallest forest (proportionally) in Europe! Just 10% of the island is covered in forestry and the results can be damaging in their legacy. 

Professor John O’Halloran highlights this - “The uncertainty about future forest ownership and a slow down in the rate of planting may mean a decline in biodiversity and some species of conservation concern, reliant on the forests.”

These worrying observations coupled with the fact that Ireland produced 2.1 million tonnes MORE greenhouse gases than projected between 2008-2012, means that now is the time to think green, buy green and help protect our beautiful country for future generations!”  

So, that’s the result but why has it happened?! 

Why Ireland has no Trees

According to the academic Dr. Richard O’Hanlon the causes behind Ireland’s deforestation are numerous, intertwining and historic

O’Hanlon notes that just 10% of Ireland is under forest cover and, as we’ve stated in the past, it’s understood that just 1% of that is made-up of native Irish trees. If you’ve followed our work in the past you’ll know just how important native trees area to the surrounding environment.

These incredibly low numbers are primarily due to human activity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and to a lesser extent also activities in the early 20th century.

Deforestation originally occurred due to the needs of growing agriculture trends in Ireland and this activity then escalated with the birth and growth of the Industrial Age. Trees were cut down in the thousands as wood requirements hit unprecedented levels and, despite numerous initiatives throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, forest levels have never recovered. 

It should also be noted that certain areas of Ireland, including parts of Donegal in the north and areas of the west including The Burren, are inhospitable environments for forestry growth due to terrain, soil levels etc. Whilst this doesn’t account for large parts of the rest of the Emerald Isle it does account for huge areas that historically remain untouched.


Unfortunately that is the reality in modern day Ireland but, as we’ve said many times before, it doesn’t have to be the case!

The work we do, along with our partners at NuaTree, and the work countless other organisations do, seeks to slowly chip away at this deforestation crisis so don’t lose heart! 

Thanks for reading our blog! As a thank you, you can get 10% off any Irish plot of land by using the code: BLOG10

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