We would love Carraig Dulra to support and enrich the natural habitats that are so rare now. Native plants are adapted to this environment and other species are adapted to work with them too, and, well, it just feels right when you see an Irish tree in Irish soil. So to help this along we're looking into the Native Woodland Scheme, which gives a grant towards costs of planting native tree species. We just had a visit from Katharine, an ecologist from Natura, and Michael, a forester, to walk the site just to give us an idea of what was feasible. Here is what we found out:
- They won't pay for deer fencing you already have put up.
- You have to fence for rabbits/hares as well
- They don't like gorse so we'd have to remove it (both a fire hazard and competes with the new trees)
- They don't like bracken. Michael said normally people spray it, but is open to idea of a more manual management method since we wouldn't want to do that and being organic, we couldn't even if we wanted to!
- Costs for management plan from forester and ecologist don't decrease just because you're only planting a small area
- People normally hire in a very large digger-like machine to cut rows and mound the earth for the trees.
- The total grant we could get wouldn't cover the cost of the management plan/consultants, trees, additional fencing etc.
The most amazing thing that still sticks in my mind is that for the 1 acre of so we are considering planting, that we would put in 2,500 trees! The idea of this is so inspiring I just want to do it, notwithstanding that it might not be practical!
Anyway, we are also considering this because we think it will be helpful for others who are interested in this scheme to see how the process works and what the result looks like, albeit on a small scale.