the Woodland League – Save Irelands Forests ?

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I can’t remember how I spotted this but…. for what its worth here is the what I saw on the website of The Woodland League. Never heard of the woodland league ?

The Woodland League is a not-for-profit independent community-based organisation , non-denominational, non-political advocates of Agenda 21 and an all-Ireland body. Our aim is to restore the relationship between people and their woodlands.

To the point, they have a Petition to [quote] save Irelands forests.

I personally just thought that line a bit, well…. vague to be honest, is that the right word? Agree, disagree or other, the first paragraph and the following petition is straight from the website and what follows after that are emails to Andrew. Either or I’d not heard of the petition to save our forests until December 8th. I’ll leave it with you….

Support the Woodland League Petition – Save Ireland’s Forests

The Irish Government is moving closer to a huge sell-off of the public forests managed by Coillte (The Irish Forestry Board) to private investors. An area greater than 1 million acres, equivalent to two medium sized counties will be lost forever. This will include some of our most valuable native woodlands, wild places and some of the last refuges of our native flora and fauna.

Interest has been expressed by Swiss finance company Helvetia Wealth – who own the International Forestry Fund (IFF) – chaired by Bertie Ahern, (ex-prime minister of Ireland) as well as The China Investment Corporation.

Please sign this petition now to tell the Irish Government that Ireland’s Forests are not for sale. These forests are the inheritance of the Irish children and managed wisely can help secure Ireland’s social, environmental and economic future. A strong show of support, asserting our rightful ownership of the public forests will make all the difference.

Interesting….. It comes also with a petition letter

We the undersigned,

Wish it be known that the public forests belong to the people of Ireland and under no circumstances should they be sold to private interests as a short-sighted economic reaction.

The economy of Ireland under the Gaelic Order was that of the forests. This great resource was the provider of raw materials, medicine, weapons, tools, charcoal and food (in the form of berries, nuts, fungi, fruit, wild animals, etc.) as well as the basis for spirituality and wisdom. No other country has as many placenames connected to the forest with as many as 40,000 still in existence. Our forests are of great cultural and economic importance, therefore in these uncertain times we must retain full control over this most precious resource.

The loss of our public forests will mean an area equivalent to two medium sized counties will be gone forever, all the potential benefits to local communities (now needed more than ever) will be lost. Access to rivers and water rights, fishing and hunting rights, wild fruits, nuts, mushrooms and basic access to nature will be removed, as well as the environmental services trees provide.

The Irish forests need to be placed in a trust to safeguard them now and into the future. We also wish to see the public forests developed and diversified to maximise their potential multiple benefits for the common good of the Nation. This should focus on the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of our neglected native tree species. The native trees of any place are scientifically recognised to be the most valuable land based habitat for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

We hope that you appreciate the seriousness of this matter, that you will reconsider any notion of selling the public forests and proceed to act in the best interests of the Irish people.

Curious on a few points I emailed Andrew

Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 1:39 PM

A Chara Andrew,

I have just read your statement on your website.

Although the forests may change ownership…. is there not rules in place that the forests cannot just be simply ‘chopped down’ ?
ie. are you just trying to prevent the change of ownership or is it to actually ‘save the forest’ ?

best
peter

And I got this response

A chara,

Thank you for the email, yes there are certain regulations in place to prevent wholesale clearing however as in all areas of society there is no regulation in place, go to our facebook page and find the report by the Irish Forestry Contractors Association the same report is on the Oireachtas website, where it was presented to a agriculture and food committee in Appril and see what they said about the rate of deforestation going on by Pension fund compamies cahing in their assets etc. Private owners will be even more out of control and could have the laws changed to facilitate asset stripping, there are no safeguards. This is one aspect of the campaign the other is to see a completely new model of forestry community oriented and involving the conversion of the plantations back to native woodlands. See our Pilot project proposal on the left hand column of the webpage for this blueprint. So the answer is both and more, we wish to create a mandate to change the direction and use of this public land and forests, we also wish to see the pockets of valuable native woodlands enhanced, conserved, and restored/expanded upon as the genetic seedbanks for the natural regeneration of our native forest resource.

Hope this helps,
Regards,
Andrew

I replied to Andrew as follows and have no reply, as yet

Hi andrew,

to an extent it does help…. although i’m not on facebook so i’m stumped there.

that aside and my apologies for sounding mildly niaive but it seems slightly vague [is that the correct word ?] in the sense that ‘they might’ or ‘the laws may change’ – once again pardon me but its just to put ‘here is the situation’ in column A and ‘this will’ in column B

if that makes sense. I hope it does.
best wishes
peter

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