Woodland regeneration project for N Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the most sparsely forested countries in the Europe and plans are now underway to regenerate swathes of land by planting native tree species.
NI Environment Minister Sammy Wilson was drafted in to plant the fist tree of the 58 acre regeneration project in Burntollet Wood.
Mr Wilson said: "We have the unenviable reputation of being one the least wooded areas of Europe.
"Creating more native woods such as this wood in the Faughan Valley area is enhancing our local biodiversity and will provide immense benefit for wildlife and people both now and in future generations.
"My Department and NIEA is pleased to support this wonderful initiative at Burntollet and to continue to back the Woodland Trust's vision for a more wooded Northern Ireland."
The planting is one of a number of woodland initiatives being undertaken by the Trust, supported by the Agency.
The Woodland Trust's vision of recreating the extensive native woodlands that were once a feature of the Faughan Valley has been supported by a £353,500 grant from the Agency.
This helped the Trust fund the acquisition of land in the Burntollet Valley and other woodlands in the wider Faughan Valley area.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: "We are delighted to have received the backing of the Minister and his department.
"This acquisition brings a wonderful opportunity for both people and wildlife.
"We will be planting 36,000 native trees, which will buffer the nearby fragments of ancient woodland.
"The planting will link habitats together and provide an extended haunt for our precious wildlife. It's a venture which will form a key piece of a large landscape jigsaw."
The new woodland is adjacent to Ervey Wood - part of Ness Country Park managed by NIEA - from which it will be accessible.
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