Aviva Ireland donates €5m to The Nature Trust to plant new native woodlands
Funding will result in the planting of approximately 1.2 million native tree saplings
20 October 2022
Aviva Ireland has provided €5 million in funding to the Nature Trust, a not-for-profit company backed by Coillte and Forestry Partners, to help accelerate its native afforestation project.
The funding, the largest the Nature Trust has received to date, will result in the planting of approximately 1.2 million native tree saplings, creating 400 hectares of new native woodlands across a number of sites throughout Ireland.
The planting season for the new woodlands will begin this winter and continue over the coming years.
The native woodlands created will provide carbon sequestration – removing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and so helping to address climate change. In addition to the carbon removal, it will enhance existing and degraded biodiversity and create new biodiverse habitats, as well as providing free access to all for improved wellbeing and recreational amenities.
The woodlands will be made up of a mix of native trees that are best suited to each location, with species such as oak, birch, holly, alder, rowan, hawthorn, guelder rose, blackthorn and hazel. The new woodlands as they grow will provide habitats for wildlife, for example, native mammals such as red squirrels, pine martens, foxes, and badgers. They will also benefit many species of insects and pollinators and provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds, enhancing the biodiversity required to thrive. These woodlands will have free open access and will provide a space for the public to connect with nature, exercise and enjoy outdoor activities
According to a Central Statistics Office’s report* issued last April, Ireland has currently one of the lowest levels of tree cover in all of Europe, with 11.6% forest cover but under 2% of our country’s land under native woodland. However, this initiative will contribute significantly to national afforestation targets, and to Ireland meeting its climate commitments.
Ciarán Fallon, managing director of the Nature Trust said: “The Nature Trust welcomes this major funding from Aviva as we are facing a twin climate and biodiversity crisis and this initiative responds to both. This is a significant step forward in our mission to increase the level of native woodland cover in Ireland on a large scale. We are delighted to work with Aviva, who have a strong track record in the area of sustainability. These new native woodlands will be managed for nature with public access in perpetuity, for the benefit of people, nature and climate”
“Avoiding adding more CO2 to the atmosphere is necessary, but we also need to start looking at further projects that start to remove CO2 from the atmosphere,” said Declan O’Rourke, CEO, Aviva Insurance Ireland. “Nature-based removal projects take time to start absorbing carbon, so we are supporting projects now to help our net zero goals of 2030 in our operations and supply chain and our 2040 goal for underwriting and investments.”