Public advised to ‘get out and reconnect with nature’ in New Year

Survey highlights Lough Key Forest Park, Mote Park and Sliabh Bawn

According to a recent Red C Research survey commissioned by Coillte (the semi-state forestry company), Roscommon’s top Coillte Forests for recreation include Lough Key Forest Park, Mote Park and Sliabh Bawn.

In addition to revealing Roscommon’s top forests for recreation, the survey also revealed that a total of 81% of the Irish public believe Ireland needs to grow more trees to help combat climate change, and furthermore, 86% of those surveyed agree that getting out into nature and exploring their local forest has a positive impact on their physical and mental wellbeing, while 82% believe forests are important for nature and biodiversity, which is central to Coillte’s strategic vision.

Of all respondents, 74% agree that having a mix of trees, such as conifers which grow quickly and capture carbon at a high rate, along with broadleaves that provide a long-term store of carbon, is important for climate action. In terms of tackling climate change, the majority surveyed (66%) are in favour of using Irish wood as an alternative building material to high-carbon materials such as concrete and steel.

Speaking about the survey, Paul Jordan (Regional Manager, Coillte) said, “At Coillte, we recognise the importance of nature and forests in supporting our overall wellbeing and it’s encouraging to see that the majority of the Irish public agrees, as revealed in our recent survey. Roscommon has a range of beautiful Coillte forests for people to enjoy, including Lough Key Forest Park, Mote Park and Sliabh Bawn, and we are reminding people to take some time where possible…  to get out and reconnect with nature”.

The survey findings support Coillte’s forestry strategic vision which aims to deliver multiple benefits from its forests and bring more focus to climate action, with ambitious targets on biodiversity and recreation, while continuing to deliver for the forest and wood products industry. The focus of Coillte’s vision is on sustainably balancing and delivering the multiple benefits from Ireland’s state forests across four strategic pillars: climate, wood, nature, and people.

Coillte’s forestry strategic vision, announced last year, is designed to optimise its contribution to Ireland’s climate targets, and includes a range of actions aiming at capturing approx. 28m tonnes of CO2 from the environment by 2050.

As part of these actions, Coillte aims to enable the creation of 100,000 hectares of new forests by 2050 (half of which will be native woodlands, thereby enabling the sinking of 18 metric tonnes of CO2). Coillte will also manage its existing forest estate to capture an additional 10 metric tonnes of CO2 by 2050.

Coillte plans to produce 25 million cubed metres of certified Irish timber to support the construction of 300,000 new homes in Ireland by 2030 and will also promote the use and benefits of wood products to increase the level of timber homes from 20% to 80% by 2050.

Additionally, Coillte intends to enhance and restore biodiversity by increasing the area of the forest estate being managed primarily for nature from 20% to 30% by 2025 and to 50% in the long-term.

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