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Afforestation is key to climate action - David Cullinane TD

7 August, 2019 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Communications, Climate Action, and the Environment David Cullinane TD today published a discussion document on afforestation with his colleague Brian Stanley. It calls for a change in current afforestation policy and a move towards a more local and community-based approach, with a greater emphasis on sustainable broadleaf forestry and hedgerows.

Deputy Cullinane said:

"Sinn Féin is committed to a sustainable afforestation strategy. We recognise the importance of increasing the percentage of land under forestry in the mitigation of carbon emissions.

"However, not all plantations are beneficial to the environment, and not all species are beneficial to local habitats. 

"Sinn Féin has grave concerns regarding future afforestation policy given the documented failures of the past.

"Whilst investment in fast growing conifers has proven commercially profitable, such planting has limited if any impact on carbon sequestration.

"The intensive plantation of invasive species such as Sitka Spruce has had a detrimental environmental and ecological impact.

"This is why we propose:

"The immediate discontinuation of financial inducements for monoculture afforestation.

"The immediate introduction of grant schemes and tax incentives which favour the planting and maintenance of continuous cover, sustainable, broadleaf forestry and hedgerows.

"Protection of mature trees in public locations from destruction.

"An island wide solution to addressing climate change and that Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in the north and Department and Agriculture, Food and the Marine establish a joint working plan/group and work with all relevant stakeholders."

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