Arbor Day

26 April 2024


Arbour Day
Reforestation efforts in Ireland

Arbor Day, much like Earth Day, encourages communities to get in touch with nature through tree planting. In celebration of Arbor Day, we at Wild Gaia wanted to shine a spotlight on the reforestation efforts currently being undertaken across Ireland.

Ireland was once was dominated by vast forests, covering >90% of the land. These expansive woodlands held rich biodiversity and provided a multitude of ecosystem serviceS including flood prevention, carbon sequestration and soil stability. Over time agriculture, industrialization, and population growth has resulted in their rapid, large-scale reduction and today Ireland has a mere 11% tree cover (only 2% of which is native). This profound shift has massively changed our visual landscape and aided in the severe depletion of native biodiversity.

In an attempt to meet updated legal requirements to reduce carbon emissions, the Irish government is largely funding the planting of non-native conifer monocultures, with detrimental long-term consequences such as; excess river sediment, soil acidification and supporting little to no native biodiversity of flora/fauna.

However a number of organisations are fighting to restore Ireland's colourful native woodlands of mixed broadleaf trees like oak, ash, alder and birch to their former glory.

Reforest Nation are a local, social enterprise, restoring nature and fighting climate change by providing low-cost tree planting that fosters community involvement and aims to create functioning, healthy ecosystems. They planted 97,500 total trees in Ireland across 14 counties between 2021-2024, with an estimated 243,750kg of co2 absorbed to date.

They also use Miyawaki Method, developed by Japanese botanist, Dr. Akira Miyawaki, to produce more dense and biodiverse forests, up to 10 times faster than using traditional methods. In collaboration with EcoSikh Ireland, they have established Europe's largest Miyawaki-inspired forest in Greystones, County Wicklow. Populated with 17 native tree species, to date 40,000 trees have been planted, making significant progress towards their 50,000-tree goal.

Hometree are a registered Irish tree-planting charity, from humble beginnings in 2014 that grew into a project that seeks to connect the general public with nature, and undertakes a selection of projects to combat the biodiversity crisis and increasing impacts on climate change in Ireland.

Their ambitious “Restoration of Wild Atlantic Rainforest” project aims to restore temperate rainforests on 4000 acres of land across Ireland through “facilitating natural regeneration by removing grazing pressures, fencing off remnant pockets of forest to allow for their expansion and planting trees where there is a strong ecological rationale to do so.”

Restoring these rare ecosystems could have huge positive knock-on effects for priority species recovery, carbon sequestration and habitat connectivity.

Crann is an Irish, non-profit tree organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of trees, hedgerows and woodlands. With the patronage of President Michael D. Higgins, they aim to enhance Ireland’s environment through planting, promoting, protecting and increasing awareness of the importance of Ireland’s trees, woodlands and hedgerows. They have been achieving this through a variety of projects including “The Giant’s Grove Project” which will involve the planting and maintenance of 1,000 giant redwood trees. This will form one of the largest groves of giant redwoods outside California, located at the gardens of Birr Castle, County Offaly. Redwoods were once native in 

Ireland pre–Ice Age and their return is an exciting endeavour. 

In addition to this, Crann has partnered with the “Easy Treesie” project which aims to support the planting of 1 million trees by 1 million schoolchildren in Ireland to reach the “Plant-for-the-Planet” challenge. 

Wild Gaia aims to join the ranks of these organisations through several tree planting projects of our own, from implementing the “Plant a tree Project,” which aims to encourage members of the public to support the planting of a selection of fruit/nut and native Irish trees, to the “Rare Irish Trees Project” which seeks to bolster existing populations of a range of rare and localised tree species such as Alder Buckthorn and Irish Whitebeam, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

The collaboration between organisations seeking to restore Irish woodland is vital to our ecosystem and in working together, we can begin to undo the damage our magnificent forests have endured.


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