Woodland Trust – 20 years in NI! 17 November 2016
Conservation charity the Woodland Trust is celebrating 20 years in Northern Ireland (via The Woodland Trust)
Photograph by The Woodland Trust
Patrick Cregg MBE is the director of the Bangor–based charity and, starting in November 1996, was the first member of staff.
Patrick – who now heads a small team of ten – answers some questions, reflecting upon the key highlights over the last two decades and hopes for the future.
Why does Northern Ireland need the Woodland Trust?
Although our countryside is famously green, we’re extremely lacking when it comes to woodland. Northern Ireland has just 8 per cent woodland cover, compared to the UK average of 13 per cent and the European average of 44 per cent.
The long and short of it is that Northern Ireland needs more trees. In fact, we want to see a huge increase in tree numbers, across the entire countryside and in a wide range of circumstances: new woodland areas, trees in hedgerows, along riversides, and in school grounds.
Trees and woods offer so much. They help clean the very air we breathe; enhance landscapes; and provide homes for wildlife. They even provide winter shelter and summer shade for livestock. The list is endless.
At the right scale and in the right places, planting trees really can deliver ‘natural capital’ – a term that we hear more and more of, and a way of measuring the benefits in economic terms.