Trio of small forests to take root in Sean Walsh Park project

By Mary Dennehy

A TRIO of small forests are set to take root in Sean Walsh Park as part of a project to breath pockets of life into neighbourhoods – and as a local response to global warming through reforestation.

South Dublin County Council has confirmed that it is supporting a proposal by the Litter Mugs, which was lodged by the community-led group  through a submission to the Biodiversity Action Plan.

Bypass Sean Walsh Park 1

Small forests are to be installed in Sean Walsh Park

The Litter Mugs proposed the creation of ‘stepping stone’ forests, which are small, dense, very fast-growing plantations  of entirely native species in an urban setting.

The proposal suggested that tracts of open grassland in South Dublin County Council parks could be planted with a series of these pocket forests.

Speaking with The Echo, John Kibride of the Litter Mugs said: “It struck me that there is a lot of grass areas in our local parks that nobody really uses... and the council is forever cutting the grass.

“We have lots of parks [in South Dublin County] and lots of grass areas within these parks which could be used for these pocket forests.

“There are huge biodiversity benefits with these forests.

“They are 30 times more biodiverse than a patch of green grass.”

According to John, the sites chosen for planting should be selected carefully to provide continuous forest stepping stones for wildlife to make its way through the county – creating a ‘green ribbon nature corridor’.

In a comment to The Echo, Teresa Walsh, the council’s Director of Environment, Water and Climate Change, said that three, small 100m2 sites have been identified in Sean Walsh Park for planting.

“The council is happy to support the proposal for Pocket Forests in Sean Walsh Park”, Ms Walsh said.

“A pocket forest or stepping stone forest is a carefully chosen and densely planted collection of native trees, flowering shrubs and plants to put biodiverse pockets of life into neighbourhoods and gardens.

“Pocket forests grow up to 10 times faster than regular tree-planting, and next March the council will plant the mixed native trees as bareroot whips overs three small 100m2 sites in the park.”

Plant species being planted include Alder, Birch, Oak, Scots Pine, Willow, Yew, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Elder, Guelder Rose, Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Rowan, Spindle, Wild Cherry.

The planting of the forest pockets is a community and council partnership, with members of the community, led by the Litter Mugs, taking part in ground preparation works ahead of the council’s planting in early Spring.

A Stepping Stones Forest Preparation Day is planned for December 5, dependant on Covid-19 restrictions.

Registration for the event is necessary, as numbers will be limited to ensure adherence to Government guidelines.

Anybody interested in being part of the biodiversity project, and a local “push back against global warming through reforesting”, is invited to visit the Tallaght Litter Mugs Facebook page.

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