Reversing the effects of deforestation is not easy; one can never fully reverse the destruction that we humans have wreaked on nature. The new trees will never match the magnificence of the trees of yore, yet a small beginning can be made. By 2040, the government has pledged to plant 440 million trees in Ireland to tackle the climate changes, according to The Irish Times.
The government has released an action plan for climate change in which it pledges to plant many more trees. It hopes to turn Ireland into a carbon-neutral country by 2050. Increased concentration on renewable energy, changing land use pattern, and imposing a tax on carbon will be their tools. But there were no exact figures, especially the trees to be planted. Recently an exact figure was disclosed to The Irish Times by the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment.
The target set is an ambitious 22 million every year. By the next two decades, the target is to plant 440 million trees in Ireland. It is a huge number but the Irish feel that it is something that they can achieve if the landowners cooperate. All they have to do is allow planting of trees in a part of their land. The government is willing to pay for it. Conifer will comprise 70% of the trees and trees with broad-leaves will make up the rest.
We want many more trees in Ireland, as part of our plan on climate action. 440 million is a huge number but it’s achievable if all landowners plant just some of their land. We are willing to make it financially worthwhile. https://t.co/MmX2sGqXM7
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 2, 2019
This was announced after it was found during a study that planting 500 million trees could counter climate change effectively. Critics are skeptical that reforestation isn’t the only solution for eliminating greenhouse gases. It can only be a part of the solution, HuffPost reported. Cutting down on the emission of such gases is the main way to tackle this problem.
Other countries like India and Ethiopia have taken initiatives for large-scale reforestation. 350 million trees were planted in one day in Ethiopia , setting a record. Scotland too has exceeded the target set it had set for planting trees, as reported by The Hill. Nearly 43 square miles (11,200 hectares) of trees were planted in 2018, way above the modest target of 10,000 hectares (39 square miles approximately). The total trees planted stood at 22 million in Scotland. So the Irish feel that 440 million trees in Ireland over 20 years can be achieved.
England was however way behind the target and its efforts at reforestation fell short by 70%, as reported by HuffPost.
If the Irish are to succeed, the most difficult task ahead would be to have farmers agree to the reforestation program to plant 440 million trees in Ireland. The government realizes that they have a difficult task at hand. But they plan to convince the farmers through community meeting all over the country. And efforts can be boosted in this ambitious reforestation program.
The plan has its skeptics though. Pádraic Fogarty of Irish Wildlife Trust feels that we should not plant trees but allow nature to take its course. We should allow the forests to regenerate by leaving the areas that are to be forested alone. The trees will regenerate by itself, he maintains. The 94 million pounds ($103 million) dollars earmarked for the planting of 440 million trees in Ireland, would be far better spent to pay the farmers to let the land rejuvenate. He says that the government should pay the landowners to just let their land be and allow nature to grow the trees by themselves. It is just that we do not trust the ability of nature to turn back on its own.
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