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Sustaining Irish Forests

irish_forestsThe year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

As part of their commitment to the International Year of the Forests, Coillte (The Irish Forestry Board) supplied over 15,000 trees during ‘National Tree Week’. Early in March these trees were distributed to schools and community groups by every local authority in the country.  Coillte is encouraging as many people as possible to take part in the many events around the country taking place  during International Year of the Forests 2011.  Coillte states that their core purpose is to enrich lives locally, nationally and globally through the innovative and sustainable management of natural resources.  Coillte is a commercial company operating in forestry, land based business, renewable energy and panel products.  The company employs approximately 1,100 people ad was established in 1988.  It owns 445,000 hectors of land, about 7% of the land in Ireland.
How many of us are aware that the Irish Government is moving closer to a huge sell-off of the public forests managed by Coillte to private investors?  The sale will include some of the most valuable native woodlands, wild places,  and some of the last refuges of our native flora and fauna.  These forests are the inheritance of the Irish people and if they are managed wisely then they can help secure Ireland’s social, environmental and economic future.
What can we do to make a difference?  A strong show of support, asserting our rightful ownership of the public forests is essential.  As Religious Sisters of Charity we are committed to environmental issues  and to respecting all of creation. We can be proactive in heightening awareness among ourselves, our colleagues, and friends about the plans the government have for selling of Coillte.  Such a sale would be devastating for our Woodlands and Forest Plantations.  They would cause destruction and wreak havoc.  We must encourage others to be aware of what is happening to our beautiful countryside.
We can also help by signing the petition on the homepage of The Woodland League. Tell the Irish government that Ireland’s Forests are not for sale.  These forests are our inheritance and a strong show of support, asserting our rightful ownership of the public forests will make a difference.
Please log on and sign the petition.  Pass the information on to others and ask them to sign the petition too.  You do not have to live in Ireland to sign the petition.  By signing it we can help create awareness where the media and politicians are failing.  Every signature helps.