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Island of Woods – How Ireland Lost its Forests and How to Get them Back Paul McMahon | New Island

Release Date04/11/2023
PublisherNew Island

This comprehensive and engaging overview of the history of Irish forestry relates historical events to present-day concerns and controversies, drawing out general themes that echo throughout the centuries. It will appeal to anyone who cares about the Irish landscape and environment.

Forestry in Ireland has never been so contentious. Over the last century the area of Irish woodland has increased tenfold, mostly through the planting of imported conifer species; government policy is to plant more trees to supply industry and to tackle climate change, both urgent priorities. But there has been a backlash from farmers, local communities, environmentalists and EU regulators. The rate of planting has plummeted. And up to one-third of new plantations in Ireland are failed forests that should never have been planted in the first place. How did we end up in this peculiar situation?

ISLAND OF WOODS traces the history of Irish forests over the last 10,000 years. It explains why Ireland lost so much of its forest cover, before a burst of tree-planting over the last few decades. It examines the state of Irish forestry today and sketches a way forward for our woods that balances commercial, environmental and social goals – a vision of a different type of forestry that could transform the Irish landscape and re-establish a genuine tree culture in the country.

This engaging examination of Irish woodlands relates historical events to present-day concerns and controversies, drawing out crucial themes that continue to shape the Irish landscape.