Woodlands become more important during pandemic survey finds

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Planting of broadleaf native trees can have a  very positive impact

National Tree Week is currently underway

National Tree Week is currently underway in Tipperary

A Coillte commissioned RED C survey* to celebrate National Tree Week, March 21 to 27, reveals 88% or nine out of ten Irish adults like trees. They remind them of the beauty of nature and lift their spirits.

Research highlights include:

70% of adults say forests and woodlands have become much more important during the Covid pandemic as places to visit for a mental and physical wellness boost.
Three quarters of Irish adults (75%) have pleasant memories of walking or hiking in their local forest as a child with almost the same proportion (74%) enjoying pleasant memories of having a picnic with their family and friends.
86% agree we need to grow more trees to help tackle global warming.
Importantly, 91% understand trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and clean the air we breathe.
An average of 54% of Irish people understand, the floors, roofs, and doorframes of their homes contain wood from Irish forests.
“We’re delighted so many people appreciate their local forests and outdoor spaces more during lockdown” said Mark Carlin, managing director, Coillte Forest.

Visitor numbers to Coillte’s forests have doubled (in places like the Dublin Mountains) and tripled (from end Feb to end Dec 2020) in some cases since lockdown began, according to Carlin.

“It’s striking that just over half of respondents believe Irish wood is used extensively in their homes but they may not realise it’s used in 90% of new house builds, in attics, floors and roofs” said Carlin. “Irish wood is used because it’s of high quality,” he said.

The survey asked whether people were aware of how many Coillte forests exist for public use, revealing:

The majority (56%) of Irish adults are not aware there are at least 250 public recreational forests with marked walking trails in Ireland they can visit.
Six out of ten (63%) adults are not aware Coillte has an open forestry policy which means you can visit all 6,000 forest properties nationwide.

“We encourage people to seek out and enjoy their local Coillte forest whilst respecting the 5km Covid restrictions,” said Carlin.

“It will be a positive, for many people to learn there are so many Coillte forests they are free to explore with their friends and family,” he said.

The research also examined how Irish forest visitors~ like to spend their time there highlighting:

Almost two thirds (65%) choose going for a walk or exercising by themselves.
Almost six out of ten (59%) like walking with their spouse or partner.
Three out of ten (31%) enjoy walking their dog.
A quarter (26%) visit their local forest to provide their children with exercise and 15% like to spend time picnicking.
Coillte to donate 100,000 trees nationwide in 2021:

Coillte sponsors this year’s National Tree Week (March 21 to 27) and will donate over 100,000 tree saplings nationwide in partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland and the Easy Treesie Project this year.
The Easy Treesie Project is helping children achieve its goal of planting one million trees, one for each child in Ireland by 2023.
The 100,000 ** trees supplied by Coillte will be planted by school children across the country this year.

For those interested in accessing trees for their local school or community, please contact the Tree Council of Ireland at www.treecouncil.ie to learn more.