Coillte Nature to focus on carbon sequestration, species diversity, biodiversity, and development of recreational forests
Deborah Meghan, Coillte’s Director of Stewardship, Risk & Advocacy, tells us about a new not-for-profit entity, Coillte Nature, which will focus on multiple benefits for the environment, and recreational forests.
Coillte Nature will target the delivery of new woodlands facilitating species diversity, biodiversity and carbon sequestration as part of the Government’s National Forestry Programme. The establishment of Coillte Nature will also see the conversion of certain commercial Coillte forests to recreational forests.
Coillte has always approached its 30-year role as manager of Ireland’s forestry assets in an environmentally sustainable manner. Protecting the environment will continue to be an intrinsic part of Coillte’s sustainable forest management, as part of its normal commercial forest operations.
With the establishment of Coillte Nature, the company is seeking to advance its sustainability agenda by undertaking large discrete projects with a separate non-commercial focus. These projects are intended to increase the national forest estate but with a strong emphasis on carbon sequestration, species diversification, biodiversity and the development of outdoor recreation and tourism amenities.
Coillte Nature will collaborate with other organisations through joint ventures, etc., in implementing forestry and recreation projects. An inaugural project of Coillte Nature is the Dublin Mountains Conversion plan, to gradually, over the next 30 to 40 years convert commercial forests of the Dublin Mountains to native and mixed woodlands. For over ten years Coillte has worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council and representatives of outdoor recreation groups to promote recreation in the Dublin uplands through the Dublin Mountains Partnership. During this time Coillte has seen visitor numbers climb to over 600,000 per year, making these forests some of the most visited outdoor attractions in the region.
Due to their proximity to the city, nine Coillte forests account for the vast majority of visits to the Dublin Uplands (Ticknock, Barnaslignan, Carrigolligan, Kilmashogue, Ballyedmonduff, Massey’s Wood, Hell Fire, Cruagh and Tibradden). These forests are currently managed on Coillte’s forest planning systems as commercial forests, however given their exceptionally high usage and Coillte’s positive experience with the Dublin Mountains Partnership, Coillte has taken the decision to convert them to forests with the primary purpose of recreation and biodiversity within Coillte Nature.
Conversion from commercial forests to recreational forests will involve a mixture of continuous cover forestry (CCF) and removal of commercial species and replacement with non-commercial native tree species.
Deborah Meghan, Director of Stewardship, Risk & Advocacy, Coillte
Have your say:
Coillte have launched a consultation portal seeking views from
key stakeholders, the general public and any other interested
parties. The consultation portal can be found at
www.coillte.citzenspace.com and Coillte welcome all feedback. Closes 11 October 2019.