An environmental charity committed to the reforestation of the island is seeking land and the help of local co-operatives in the Londonderry, Tyrone and Donegal area to help plant a cross-border peace forest of 4,000 native trees in memory of those who lost their lives during the Troubles.
Forest Friends Ireland (Cáirde na Coille) says the memorial Peace Forest Ireland Project will help reestablish native trees such as oak, alder, ash and birch, which as a result of farming, industry, clearances and population growth, were decimated in many areas from the 16th century onwards.
A spokesperson said: “The project will involve the planting of forest, woodland, hedgerow and peace trees throughout the border counties, using seeds from local provenance and empowering communities by bringing them together for joint environmental projects with a shared stake and a common profit in woodland management. It is envisioned that Peace Forest project will create employment in forestry, agroforestry, gardening and woodcrafts, as well as preserving native Irish fruit trees and enhancing the potential of family farms using agroforestry and horticultural principles.
“We are now at the stage where we are looking to acquire land, to find volunteers for planting and to establish tree nurseries and community cooperatives.”
The charity wants to establish half a dozen community co-operatives to plant forests, woodlands, hedgerows and trees in the border counties. It wants to acquire at least eight hubs of approximately five acres each, ideally rich in biodiversity and featuring a water source and some mature woodland, in order to plant 4,000 trees in memory of those who lost their lives in the conflict in Northern Ireland.
If you have land or are a member of a co-operative willing to get involved get in touch via www.forestfriends.ie