Save Leitrim from the damaging effects of inappropriate forestry
No matter where you stand in Leitrim you can see plantations of Sitka Spruce.
Almost 20% of the area of the county is afforested; in fact, 29% of available land is under trees.
The Forest Service says that there is no limit on the amount of land that can be planted in any area.
Communities are already overwhelmed by the scale of these plantations, which have been expanding for over 30 years, and we can expect a strong push for more in the coming years.
This rapid change of land use is having a very significant and mostly negative impact on the environment that we live in, the kind of county we are and will become.
The impacts are felt by individuals, households, communities, our farmers, our heritage, our biodiversity and the wider environment – nature, soils, water quality, roads and landscapes.
This relentless plantation of Leitrim is being subsidised with Irish taxpayers’ money, with little in the way of benefits for the County.
We now know that many of these plantations are owned by investors who do not live or work in Leitrim. It is of great concern to us that people who do have power to help us to change this situation - Ministers, politicians, the Forest Service - appear to be ignoring the concerns of the people who live among these plantations.
Save Leitrim is not opposed to trees, but we want to see trees that enhance the life of the County in its widest context.
We already have a developed Agro-Forestry model of small fields with hedgerows and hedgerow trees –but industrial forestry is eradicating this culturally and ecologically-developed landscape with the homogeneous dark green of commercial monocultures of conifers.
We are trying to get across the message that inappropriate plantation forestry is not welcome and that we need a better vision for the future of Leitrim and its people.
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