COILLTE Nature has been asked to include the Coillte-owned wood at Castlefreke as part of its new bio-diversity scheme and encourage minimal felling.
Dominic Carroll, PRO of Castlefreke Our Woods Our Walks (COWOW), outlined details of the proposal that COWOW recently put to Coillte Nature.
He said the new not-for-profit organisation – which was established last year – has been established to focus on the environment and recreational forests.
To date, Coillte Nature has designated nine woodlands in Dublin as bio-diverse forests and COWOW is hoping that the woods owned by Coillte in Castlefreke will become the tenth. Part of Coillte Nature’s brief is to manage these forests in a different manner to its commercial forests, and to place more of an emphasis on them as recreational areas.
According to Mr Carroll, ‘the idea is to engage in minimal clear-felling, and, when they do clear Fir trees, they would replace them with broadleaf trees.’
He said the rationale is to off-set carbon emissions, which is a Government priority if it is to meet its carbon targets.
Mr Carroll said the issue was discussed in detail during a conference call that took place recently with three COWOW members – which included Mr Carroll, Breda Cooney, and the Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan – as well as the managing director of Coillte Nature, Ciarán Fallon, and Coillte’s area manager, Bernard Burke.
During the call, Deputy O’Sullivan outlined the appeal of Castlefreke in terms of its birdlife, biodiversity, heritage and history, as well as its appeal amongst walkers, and its economic benefit to the local community.
Mr Carroll also made the point: ‘COWOW is of the belief that Castlefreke Woods would be best protected and enhanced under the authority of Coillte Nature.’
The PRO told The Southern Star that Coillte’s area manager agreed to consider the proposal and discuss it with them again in a few weeks’ time.
This week, Cork South West TD Holly Cairns, called on Coillte to extend their biodiversity initiative to all of West Cork and said she had written to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed seeking his support for a nationwide rolling out of the project.