Lack Of Trees In Irish And British Countrysides

Page 5 of 6  
On May 7, 11:53 pm, snipped-for-privacy@home.org (Way Back Jack) wrote:

One factor is this: The EU has been paying farmers to cut down trees for a long time. I think it is now paying people to plant them again.
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Tree coverage in Ireland was at its lowest point a century ago. The EU has nothing to do with it. In fact, Irish tree coverage has been slowly growing since the 70s. The trees disappeared for farming, fuel and for building (including ships), centuries ago.
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You may well be right. I'm no real expert on this. I can say that I once saw a documentary on the subject in which they interviewed a farmer, who seemed a really reasonable person with a willingness to help the environment as far as he is able. However, he explained how he had no realistic option but to fell a lot of the trees on his land because he then received better subsidies for putting the land to different use. He just couldn't afford to write off the sum he made from doing that, I couldn't have said I'd have done a differently in his shoes, which spelt death for most of the trees on his land. Another EU factor which I think may have an impact on re- forestation is the big subsidies that currently go to sheep farmers. For example, most of the hill landscapes in the british isles, in all the various countries, are completely without trees because they are given to sheep farming. As I understand, this farming would not be happening on anything like this scale without the subsidies. I have a friend with some land in Conemara, and the whole area is (in one way of looking at it) 'devastated' by sheep farming. Just by fencing off a part of his land, we soon saw how small tree saplings were taking root which would otherwise be barren, close-munched grass. Also, when you find small rocky areas where sheep can't reach on cliffs and waterfalls, you will nearly always see the native tree species such as oak trying to come though. I was pretty sad to find about ten neglected sheep (belonging to his neighbour) dying slowly and miserably on land less than a mile from their owner's house, mostly dying of parasitic infection of the liver I believe. These sheep lie incapacitated sometimes for days on the ground before dying. Someone told me the owner doesn't really care coz he only keeps the sheep for the subsidy. I don't know if that's true, but whatever, it didn't look like real farming to me. On top of this, water supplies to places like Galway have been rendered undrinkable because of washoff and general shite from the farming, and the land owners are not fencing the animals away from the watercourses, rivers etc, which they should be doing I think, and is part of the cause of the problem. Personally I'd like to see a long term policy regarding EU subsidy which moved away from this kind of omnipresent artificially subsidised sheep industry. It doesn't make much sense...for example, in Wales I remember being able to see thousands of sheep from my windows, but would still always find New Zealand lamb in the freezers of the local chain stores (and stop to think how much energy and pollution was spent shipping that NZ lamb to the UK). In view of the environmental damage this strangely organised industry causes, surely there is some less damaging way we could subsidise rural people? While this system holds sway, i don't see how you'd get the chance to restore the kind of tree cover that existed historically in Ireland.
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There are 2 issues here; one is whether or not EU subsidies are a good idea for the environment. It is complicated; there are certainly problems caused by it. Equally, much of the environmental legislation here on water quality etc. only exists or is only enforced because of the EU. However, what we were asking about was tree cover. How come, I can remember the Dublin mountains being just as treeless as they are now (maybe more so), even before Ireland joined the EU? Ireland lost its forests in the 16th and 17th centuries. Yes it is sustained partly that way because of agriculture; centuries of it. The EU is neither here nor there.
The para below is from http://www.woodlandsofireland.com/docs/No%5B1%5D._2_-_Woodland_Management_History.pdf
"By the time of the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 AD, tree cover in Ireland was diminished to the extent that, according to estimates, woodland cover accounted for no more that 12.5%, and as low as 2%, of the land area. At the same time, both merchant and naval shipbuilding, although never practiced on the scale it was in Britain, also increased in Ireland. Timber for ships was exported to England from Waterford in 1608 AD, and the East India Company is known to have established a yard at Dundaniel in Cork some time before 1613 AD (Neeson, 1995)."
this below is from http://www.wicklowmountainsnationalpark.ie/history.html
"Much of the area, particularly in the south, was heavily forested and had proved a boon to rebelling forces during the centuries of war, so a policy of removing the tree-cover was instigated. In fact, forestry was already well established as County Wicklow's first true industry. During the Tudor period, timber had become valuable. It was required for fuel and heat, housing and ship-building. Wood-charcoal was also the main resource used for smelting iron. The magnificent oak woods near Shillelagh, in the south of the county, were particularly well renowned and Sir Arthur Chichester in 1608 noted that the timber from these woods could '...furnish the King for his shipping and other uses for 20 years to come'. At this time Wicklow was the only remaining county in Leinster with extensive tree cover."

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Wouldn't dispute a word of it. Where from here though? Sadly, by and large, people don't plant trees unless they have a significant commercial motivation, unless they are highly idealistic and not forced to make an actual living from the land. Globally, one reason much forest is removed is because the values we may ascribe to trees, such as the pleasure of their presence, the way they help other natural diversity, and the bigger environmental benefits such as fixing carbon are losing out to more immediate and short-term commercial objectives. Various economic theorists have posited that until we can ascribe (and somehow enforce) a system whereby these other values are given a price that people have to take into account, then we cannot hope to see forests either preserved or re-grown. In other words, if we were forced to take into account the *real long term value* arising from trees, which often includes a longer term view of things like the actual monetary gain people who already sustainably use the trees (but are often politically marginalised), and also the cultural value of the forest as an environment for people , such as native Amazonians, the later-arriving (but sustainably operating) rubber tappers, the 'pygmy' people etc. Also there is the very real long-term poverty people suffer in the long term from living on degraded, eroded land etc. But the political situation prevailing often means that the people doing the felling never have to face those costs themselves. For anyone who might argue that we can't enforce such an 'airy fairy' or 'idealistic' value of trees when faced with the 'hard reality' of economic necessity, i think they should certainly take into account the fact that the impetus for much deforestation has *nothing to do* with 'inevitable' economic forces, but with the strange and damaging effects of unfair and skewed political and social regimes which do not themselves follow any particular economic logic which took account of the long-term benefits to people living near or in the forests (the historic deforestation of Ireland being a case in point).. The artificiality of the whole system really came home to me when I decided about 15 years ago to do a bit of research into why the Amazonian forests in Brazil are disappearing so fast. One of the best books I found on the subject were some of the text books for an Open University course on environmental issues. It explained how much of the deforestation in Brazil was occurring because BIG and politically influential ranchers were seeking to maximise their (vast array of) ranch land, because they could then benefit and profit from artificial subsidies and tax breaks from the Brazilian govt. These big powerful landowners were part of a big 'farmers union' or some such, which had a lot of influence in the govt, making it difficult to change thigns. Meanwhile, vast numbers of poorly represented poor folks (often pushed off land by the powerful landownders with the guns and the money), may be pushed further into the jungle to try and cut themselves a sustainable small-holding. in due course, however, these people are pressured into losing or amalgamating their lands into the ranches, mostly being pushed further into the jungle....and so the system goes on. Similarly, people representing groups such as the rubber tappers, who exploited the trees sustainably without cutting them down, often meet a sticky end, like Chico Mendez did, assassinated for his trouble by powerful land-owning interest groups and their agents. And bear in mind that these big ranches are not necessarily economic without the subsidies, and tend to become less viable through the degradation of the land once it loses tree cover. And all this because of vested interests and how theyve been able to skew things through artificial agricultural subsidies and the like. Moving back to the european situation, while the worst ravaging of the trees may belong in history, surely we (EU countries) would also have to take a serious look at taking into account values *other than* immediate and obvious financial returns to get some serious reforestation happening. This would have to somehow translate into the value of new woodland actually being taken account of euros and cents, even if that means using artificial subsidy as part of the motive. Since the use of these truly vast swathes of land for sheep seems to be sustained specifically by subsidy already, i don' think it's so outlandish to see that as a key part of where we might, collectively and with consent, change that and subsidise in a different direction. Pricing living trees artificially, but with full account of the 'non-immediate' value has got plenty of working precedents. After all, look at the way that the imposition of carbon pricing is being used to radically alter the balance sheets of businesses in a way that aims to help the environment. It's entirely based on artificial regulation, but is nonetheless being applied to radically change 'common sense' economic and industrial activity. Interestingly, there is a serious and binding 'tree pricing' regime starting up in London right now. In London there have been a huge number of trees felled because of a big fear of subsidence caused by tree-roots on the part of house owners. An organisation has (i understand) been established to put a specific monetary price on various trees, based on their age, beauty, recreational, aesthetic etc. value. The idea is that when, say, an insurance company demands that a tree close to a property should be felled, they will actually have to justify removing the tree on a 'balance sheet' which compares the loss 'to society' (as it were) as expressed in monetary value, against the probable or real monetary cost of the damage the tree might cause. Apparently some trees have been priced around the 750 thousand pounds stirling mark, so you can see how the case for removal might lose the day (and therefore the planning go-ahead) when they are required by a pricing scheme to look at the full longterm picture...
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In article

The name of the game is "privatize the profits, and socialize the cost". Business gets the profits and the tax payers pick up the tab for remediation. The first step is education, because as long as our life style looks cheap, it will be very expensive to repair the accumulative damage. Indeed, it may already be too late.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/28/AR2006012 801021.html
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/13th_tipping_point.html
--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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T'was the towel heads(pasted from an old SCI thread):
"Message from Q'il Q'as (Al Jazzbeera)
Q'adda yen Hamid fastha q'on Aymid? Tha Tehran A'Q'ilta er Al'Awer. Ni Al Traw'q ter Q'il Q'as nawat' Ayla'q, Shni Q'lingfer A'Qling Ibn' Braw "
Si
"Bog snorkler extraordinaire"
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In article

stupid git. Muslims had street lights, indoor plumbing, and running water when your sort was still walking in your own filth.

--

Billy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KVTfcAyYGg&ref=patrick.net

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[SNIPSI]
<sigh>
You need to get out more Billy, you're not Irish I take it?
Si
"Bog snorkler extraordinaire"
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well spotted that man!! It makes a change from blaming the Brits (apart from Gavin Bailey who himself almost certainly chopped down several large native trees).
Des

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Des Higgins wrote:

I didn't see him do it, though it is very likely, I would imagine he lingered at it, you know the way those crazy pepole in Oregon tie you to a tree before they do something that has the FBI web-site falling over? Well I reckon it was like that, a difficult to understand type of thing.
T & C
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I did not see him do it either; I am just assuming he must have; it would be exactly the kind of oppressive thing he would have done. Before the troubles, only 13.4% of NI trees were native.

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It was the unwanted introduction of Pinus sylvestris in the 17th century in NI that was responsible for all the woes up there.
Si
"Bog snorkler extraordinaire"
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That is Cruithinology of the worst kind. Pinus sylvestris was common in Ireland in prehistoric times as judged by the huge amounts that are found underneath bogs all over (most bog oak) and Pine pollen in peat deposits. So the plantations of Ulster can be justified on the grounds of re-establishing rightful inhabitants.

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This is worth the 45 minutes I've spent poking around in SCI and another one where Cat put some Irish men in their place (again).
Thanks for the laughs folks, hope you're all well, am keeping busy with the wee boys. I believe I will have some downtime in 2015 so keep an eye out for me then.
Bo xx
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In article

Please join me in the Republican toast.
--

Billy
Bush and Pelosi Behind Bars
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Yes, Administrative Cost........
Donal
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'Way Back Jack[_6_ Wrote: > ;789906']TV documentaries and travelogues reveal a lot of lush "green" > in those

The countryside is created by human requirements. Factors are:
Climate change over the past few thousand years - palaeo-biology indicates how trees have come and gone.
Increased need to feed the populace - an increasing world problem Use of timber for construction and fuel - necessary for human survival
There is a mistaken belief that Britain and Ireland were coated with trees in the past. As so often, trees grow where it suits them, and where it doesn't there aren't any. Western Ireland is too wet and warm for trees to grow well. The Highlands of Scotland and the Welsh mountains were too exposed, apart from the valleys and gullies where trees were protected from harsh wind. Where there are flood plains, trees with water-resistance can survive such as willows or alders, but tend not to form large groups. In much of the English countryside, trees are found as much in hedges as in woodland.
--
beccabunga


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Way Back Jack wrote:

Loreena Mckennitt and some unknown 18th century songwriter pretty much say it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnrNYtOsbEg

"O bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree For it stood on your shore for many's the long day Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away.
O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand And the more I think on you the more I think long If I had you now as I had once before All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.
All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep Saying, "Where shall we shelter, where shall we sleep?" For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground."
O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand And the more I think on you the more I think long If I had you now as I had once before All the Lords of Old England would not purchase Portmore."
ca 1745.
--
--
--John
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Here in the USA the rate of deforesting was something 17 acres a day to turn into charcoal which ran one of our iron works for one day. Don't ask for a site as it is most likely wrong.
If goggle is our friend.
<http://books.google.com/books?id rV3F6TYCMC&pg=PA316&lpg=PA316&dqfo resting+charcoal+pennsylvania&source=web&ots=_-OqLaZQcj&sig=g9oRdPfW-1Jpm dUsLdw6ggYQWmk&hl=en>
or
<http://preview.tinyurl.com/3tcazw
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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