100 Million Tree Project launches at Tintern Abbey
Aims to see the planting of 100 million native Irish trees across the island of Ireland throughout the next decade to reverse the environmental damage caused by the reduction of forests worldwide
1 December 2022 | 0
The 100 Million Trees Project has officially launched with the planting of 2,000 native Irish trees and shrubs on lands at Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford.
The project is a new national community-driven initiative developed by brothers, Richard and David Mulcahy, which aims to see the planting of 100 million native Irish trees across the island of Ireland throughout the next decade to reverse the environmental damage caused by the reduction of forests worldwide.
Its ambitious aim will be achieved through densely planting between 1,000 and 2,500 native Irish trees at a time across small areas of land using ‘the Miyawaki method’. Named after Japanese Botanist, Professor Akira Miyawaki, who developed the technique in the 1970s.
This method of overplanting trees has been successful in creating over 1,700 forests worldwide, including three established forests in Ireland. By planting excess trees together, they grow considerably faster, denser, are more biodiverse, and most importantly create a very rapid carbon sink. This inexpensive approach requires significantly smaller planting areas and can be carried out on unused or fallow land across Ireland. Dense areas of afforestation can also play a role in reducing the impact of forest fires, while at the same time provide areas of biodiversity.
Speaking at the launch of The 100 Million Trees Project, Richard Mulcahy said: “We have to respond rapidly to the unprecedented challenges facing this planet. The 100 Million Trees project will be an empowering initiative for communities across the country – an easy-to-implement project for ordinary people who want to do something impactful and meaningful to mitigate climate change. So many people feel powerless in the face of the huge threat created by global climate change – but The 100 Million Trees Project is an easy way for them to begin climate mitigation right here, right now and on their own doorsteps.
“If we can get the County Councils, farmers, local communities, and companies countrywide behind this initiative, it can lead to rapid change. This is a great opportunity for companies, large and small, to offset their carbon footprint by paying for a miniature forest to sequester carbon.”
David Mulcahy, a cardiologist, has been planting trees for over two decades, and in 2020, with two like-minded enthusiasts founded ‘Bugs Bees and Native Trees’ to encourage planting, and reduce the negative impact of climate change.
“I have been planting trees along with my brother for over 25 years, and strongly encourage everyone on the island of Ireland to support and get involved in this novel initiative,” said Mulcahy. “The first phase of the project commencing today is being supported by Tintern Trails Development Association at Tintern Abbey as well as Coillte, and land has been provided by Wexford County Council, along with an additional three sites at which planting will commence in early 2023.”
Chief executive for Wexford County Council, Tom Enright said: “As chief executive of Wexford County Council, I am delighted to support the launch of the project at Tintern Abbey, and to confirm that Wexford County Council is working closely with the promoters in identifying three other project locations which will be launched elsewhere in County Wexford early in the new year. It is important to emphasise that this ambitious and important initiative needs the support from local authorities, communities and landowners to help it achieve its goals.”
For The 100 Million Trees Project to achieve its ambitious but very important aim, it requires funding from philanthropists, as well as corporations who wish to offset their carbon footprint and promote Ireland’s biodiversity. For example, the sponsorship of the Tintern Abbey site, as well as the three sites to be planted in the new year, have been generously funded by a Californian philanthropist, Des Walsh for this exact reason.
The project will also need investment from the Irish government, who would benefit from being able to offset the cost of financing native trees with the cost of buying carbon credits as well as paying fines associated with not meeting climate targets. The project hopes to gain further support from farmers, businesses, schools, public services, and communities who may be able to locate and provide sites for the planting projects. It is also envisioned that schools will get involved in the early stages of the tree-planting projects to educate young people on environmental protection and management.