Which species of tree should be grown in Ireland, one of the best countries in the world for forestry? Farmers are being given incentives to look at forestry as an alternative enterprise and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed wants all farmers to plant part of their land. Sitka spruce — the predominant species in Irish forestry at 53% — has been getting a bad press, with both farmers and wildlife enthusiasts instead calling for a focus on broad-leaf trees such as oak and elm.There’s no doubt some areas are saturated with sitka spruce whose dense cover drives out wildlife. You think of Leitrim and the highland countryside of Sliabh Luachra and Duhallow, straddling parts of the counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick, as examples. These are regions where efforts underway to save the hen harrier, curlew, and freshwater pearl mussel, often against the odds.Now, Forestry Industries Ireland (FII) — representing growers, manufacturers, and processors of wood — is taking up the cudgels for sitka spruce and challenging what it views as false, unjustified campaigns against the species. ‘’There are massive benefits to growing sitka spruce in well-managed forests, especially as they grab huge amounts of harmful carbon from the atmosphere in order to grow as… Read full this story
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