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Ireland Ireland on course to plant less than half of Government's promised 22 million trees to confront climate emergency

11:31  06 december  2019
11:31  06 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

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a tree in a fenced in area © Provided by Irish Mirror

Ireland is on course to plant less than half of the 22 million trees the Government promised to confront the climate emergency.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan slammed the failure to hit the target which was included in an action plan published in June.

It had pledged to plant 22 million trees every year – and 440 million in total – by 2040.

Mr Ryan said: “Certainly whenm the Government are talking about 22 million trees a year that’s on the basis we’d be planting about 8,000 hectares.

a group of people standing in a field with a mountain in the background © Provided by Irish Mirror

“So less than half of our target is currently being delivered.

“And I think we should be [doing] not just what the Government are planning but probably double that again because it is the most effective way of storing carbon.

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“I think we also need to do it in a way that protects biodiversity so it’s not all commercial plantations.

“We have to start having more native woodlands and more diverse woodlands because not only do you want to store the carbon but you want to restore wildlife as well and I think forestry is central to that.”

Ireland is one of the least forested nations in the EU – in 2014 cover was about 11% compared to an average of nearly 40%.

Mr Ryan added it is estimated we will only plant about 3,200 hectares this year – “the lowest in 30 years”.

a tree in the middle of a lush green forest © Provided by Irish Mirror

He said: “I think we should think big, in fact twice as big as the Government is thinking because that’s the scale of the climate and biodiversity emergency we have.”

A spokesman for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said: “The Government has published the Climate Action Plan to give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

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“It commits to delivering an expansion of forestry planting and soil management to ensure carbon abatement from land use is delivered over the period 2021 to 2030 and in the years beyond.”

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