Over the centuries, woodlands have been severely affected by clearance and exploitation. At present, the total forest area is 11% of the landscape. Carefully planted and managed forests increase the biodiversity of the countryside, creating a huge range of habitats for wild fauna and flora.
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.
Farm forestry provides an alternative income that helps sustain farming communities, thereby promoting rural development and enabling people to remain on their land. Grant aid and premiums (annual payments) from the Forest Service assist farmers in making the long-term investment in trees.
As part of the millennium (year 2000) celebrations over 1500 acres of native woodland were designated as "People's Millennium Forests". This native woodland (divided into 16 forests around the country) include newly planted areas that have been using native Irish seed and the restoration of native woodlands.
As part of the celebrations, a native tree was planted free of charge on behalf of each household in Ireland. A total of 1.2 million native trees were planted. Every home was issued with a certificate giving details about the tree planted for each family and where it is located. It is not possible to locate individual trees but each household will still be able to find which forest their tree was planted in. You can check which forest your tree is located.