Ireland Plans to Plant 440 Million Trees By 2040 to Fight Climate Change

published Jan 18, 2020
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Ireland has big plans for combatting climate change. The country plans to plant 440 million trees over the next 40 years, according to its climate action plan. 

Originally, the plan specified only the amount of land to dedicate to the project, not the number of trees. But later calculations translated those eight thousand hectares (19,768 acres) to 22 million trees per year, or 440 million by 2040, according to The Irish Times.

“The climate action plan commits to delivering an expansion of forestry planting and soil management to ensure that carbon abatement from land-use is delivered over the period 2021 to 2030 and in the years beyond,” a Climate Action and Environment spokesperson from the government’s department of communications told the paper.

The trees planted will be 70 percent conifers and 30 percent broad leaves. Though planting 440 million trees to help absorb carbon sounds ambitious and inspiring, not everyone in Ireland is happy about the plan. Some farmers, for instance, will likely have to redirect some of their cropland toward tree planting.

Others are worried about the specific species that will be chosen for the tree-planting project. The Guardian reports that some people are against planting of the Sitka spruce, a fast-growing conifer from North America that currently makes up half of Ireland’s trees. Protestors think of these as “dark, dank abominations that kill wildlife, block sunlight and isolate communities,” according to the publication.

Ireland’s climate action plan doesn’t just include trees, though. It also includes building retrofits and an increase in electric vehicle use.