Peace Forest project aims to plant thousands of trees along border counties

Published by Niall Sargent on

May 15th, 2018

A peace forest project was launched in Dublin today with plans to plant a tree for each child born in the border counties in 2017.

The Peace Forest Ireland Project was started by the NGO Forest Friends and began as a joint project between Forest Friends Ireland and Dublin North Rotary Club.

Phase two of the project was launched today by Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál MacDonncha in the Mansion House, Co Dublin.

The project was formally launched in May 2013 by Sakuji Tanaka, then president of Rotary International, who planted an oak tree in St Columb’s Park, Derry, Co. Londonderry.

The concept of the Peace Forest is based on ecological and environmental concepts rather than on developing plantation forestry, according to Forest Friends.

Trees grown from seeds collected locally will be promoted rather than importing trees from outside of Ireland.

In 2017, a total of 4,000 trees to be planted on both sides of the border in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Trees planted last year in Forkhill, a former British Army post Photo: Forest Friends

According to John Haughton of Forest Friends and founder of the project stated, they are now also discussing an “ambitious plan” to create an international Peace Centre in Ireland.

“This would involve creating a new world peace centre in Ireland’s border counties, embracing the ethos and ecology of tree and forest,” he added.

Following the event, a native Irish tree was planted in Griffith Park, Co Dublin in memory of Liga Skromane, the partner of Forest Friends director, Andrew Jordan.  Ms Skromane recently lost her life tragically while attending a healing event in Kerala, India.

Trees are also well known to have a positive climate impact as they reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by storing carbon in their woody tissues.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s estimates that one large urban tree can absorb 150kg of carbon dioxide a year, as well as filter some of the airborne pollutants, including fine particulates.

A project was recently carried out in Co Clare to measure the ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and air pollutant removal provide by urban trees in Mountshannon.

Results from the study indicate that 418 trees surveyed in public spaces in the village have the capacity to store 116 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of the annual emissions of 90 cars.

The largest tree in the village and largest recorded oak in Ireland, the ‘Bé Binn’ champion oak, alone accumulated over 17,000 kg of carbon within it.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London