As part of the millennium (year 2000) celebrations in Ireland, over 1500 acres of native woodland were designated as "People's Millennium Forests". This native woodland (divided into 16 forests around the country) was dedicated forever to the people of Ireland. The forests include newly planted areas that have been using native Irish seed. The 16 forests also include the restoration of native woodlands that have been in existence for 200 or more years.
As part of the celebrations, a native tree was planted free of charge on behalf of each household in Ireland. A certificate was also posted to each home giving details about where each household's tree is planted. A total of 1.2 million native trees were planted as part of the celebrations.
Over the centuries, Ireland's woodlands have been severely affected by clearance and exploitation. At present, woodlands represent only 10% of the Irish landscape, of this only 1% is native forest. Forests are very important for many reasons, including the wildlife they support. Carefully planted and managed forests increase the biodiversity of our countryside, creating a huge range of habitats for wild fauna and flora. The move towards species diversification and broadleaves in Irish forestry should promote wildlife even further.
Managing and using forests in a way that maintains their rich variety of life forms, their economic and social functions and their capacity to re-grow is called Sustainable Forest Management. Trees are planted, allowed to mature, harvested, then re-planted and naturally re-generated in a continuous cycle of growth.
Many farmers in Ireland are now turning to forestry as an alternative use for part of their land. This trend is encouraged by grant aid and premiums (annual payments) from the Forest Service and the EU to assist farmers in making the long-term investment in trees. Farm forestry provides an alternative income that helps sustain farming communities, thereby promoting rural development and enabling people to remain on their land.
The People's Millennium Forest project is sponsored in Ireland by the National Millennium Committee, AIB Bank and the Forestry Services section in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. It is managed by Coillte, in partnership with the Woodlands of Ireland Group.
Every home in Ireland was issued with a certificate giving details about the tree planted for each family and where it is located. The trees were planted in 16 forests throughout Ireland. Where your tree is planted will depend on where you live. You can check which forest your tree is located.
These trees were planted on behalf of all citizens in Ireland free of charge.
If you did not receive a copy of your certificate or if you have misplaced it, contact Coillte (People's Millennium Forest) at the address below for further information.
For a copy of your certificate contact the People's Millennium Forests Office:
For information about the millennium forest project and native woodlands in Ireland contact:
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.