The Irish Government has announced to plant over 440 million trees by the year 2040. This is their contribution to fighting the effects of climate change the world is experiencing.
In June, the government prepared a climate action plan aimed at making Ireland a carbon-neutral country by the year 2050. This plan included the idea of planting more trees, greater investment in renewable sources of energy, changing the ways they use land, and even instituting a tax for carbon emissions. But there was no specification about how many trees they planned to plant. Recently, a spokeswoman from their Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment has announced the exact number of trees.
The government’s current target is to plant 22 million trees each year. And by 2040, they hope to push the numbers to achieve the 440 million target. The trees they will be planting will constitute 30% broad-leaf ones and 70% conifers.
We want many more trees in Ireland, as part of our plan on climate action. 440 million is a huge number but it’s achievable if all landowners plant just some of their land. We are willing to make it financially worthwhile. https://t.co/MmX2sGqXM7
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 2, 2019
In July, a study was published which found that the “most effective” solution available for our climate crisis is to plant over 500 billion trees! Yet, others are of the opinion that reforestation alone is not enough. In order to diminish the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we have to implement other strategies, along with reforestation.
While Ireland is preparing for its target over the next two decades, Ethiopia has already planted 350 million trees in just one day creating a world record in July! Ireland’s neighbor Scotland had recently announced that have even surpassed their own target of planting trees last year. While their target was 10,000 hectares, they had managed to plant 11,200 hectares. This resulted in an extra 22 million trees from the country.
But the English government has no such good news yet. They managed to barely meet 30% of their tree-planting target this year. This should serve as an encouragement to plant even more trees in the upcoming years.
A major factor to consider for the Irish government is the farmers of the country. The success of this plan largely depends on the planting of trees by farmers. The farmers are not yet very likely to plant trees on their own land and the government has plans for that too. They plan on convincing the farmers and holding community meetings to boost people and make them take part in this reforestation program.
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Irish Wildlife Trust‘s Pádraic Fogarty has his reservations about the plan. His point is that the government should not spend the $103 million each year in forestry grants. Instead, they can pay landowners not to plant in their lands. This will allow the land to naturally rewild.
He explains how we need to let nature take its course and just make sure we don’t engage in the land where nature is already present. If we see scrub, our natural reaction is to “reclaim” it in our own way. But if left alone, nature would reforest such lands in due time.
IMAGE CREDIT: PAPAN SAENKUTRUEANG