Forestry and its Environmental Benefits

Forestry is the practice of growing trees on an otherwise farmland to produce products such as pulp for straws, timber, tannin and using them for building materials such as shelter for livestock. For Ireland, farm forestry counts as one of the essential elements of forest resources.

In the EU era, the farmers encouraged subsidies to use as much of their land for forestry, but in recent years, farmers have been looking for other options to keep the industry thriving.  Today, many farmers lack the expertise to combine woodland and farmland, while new government policies can come across as hostile to farm forestry.

What needs to be understood is that these forests have become crucial for societal uplifting, providing many farmers with side incomes. It is due to the obtained plant-based products, on top of creating a haven for trees and flora and fauna, which is otherwise nonexistent due to cutting trees and overhunting the woodland animals.

Following are some of the ways by which forests and Christmas trees can have crucial environmental benefits:

Environmental Benefits of Forests

1. Increase of Biodiversity

The most significant environmental benefit of farm forestry is the unique expansion of the Irish biodiversity of animals and plants. Studies have shown that the range of plants and animals living in the farm forest dramatically depends upon the age and the species of the trees growing.  The improved wildlife habitat creates a more diverse ecosystem, which starts a chain reaction.

By planting smartly, farmers can not only increase their production of quality timber for commercial use, but they can indirectly influence the overall biodiversity of Ireland.

A great deal of woodland birds has been noticed in the farm forests of Ireland, which had previously abandoned the region due to lack of natural habitat. These include barn owls, kingfishers, sparrow-hawks, long-eared owls and woodcock, coal tits, and treecreepers.

2. Reduction in Carbon Emissions

Farm forestry and Christmas tree plantations has a marked effect on global warming because it can exponentially reduce the atmospheric carbon present in the environment. These forests can absorb and retain CO2 and release O2 in the atmosphere – a phenomenon is known to science as “carbon storage.”

There is also a method of carbon trapping called “carbon sequestration,” which integrates the stock maintenance of organic material in the soil with a superimposed wooded layer on top. This method does not prevent carbon from escaping, which in turn lowers soil erosion.

Even the urban plantations have shown promising results to botanists, that they can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas effect, subsequently helping in bringing down the global temperatures. Farm forestry can become the key to disaster aversion for a place like Ireland, which has imminent threats from climate change.

3. Natural Resource Development

The total crop and wood production from farm forests are more in quantity than from a land where only one of the two are planted as stand-alone. This phenomenon occurs because plants help each other thrive better, and it includes trees and crop plants. The trees, in return, help supply nutrients to the crops through their roots, in a symbiotic relationship. The crops also help in weed eradication to significant degrees, making the lives of the farm trees better.

This relationship can make maintenance much less for the farmers, gathering lesser expenses for weed tackling and generating optimum yields.

4. Water Logging and Flood Prevention

Salinity and waterlogging are the plagues of any plantation or harvest, but farm forests are one of the best ways to reduce soil leaching and preserve agricultural nutrients. It affects the quality of the water in the nearby water channels or sources. Timber and other conifer trees reduce the nitrate concentration in the soil and the amount of water drainage to groundwater compared with cultivable pastures or fields.

When water tables increase, the flooding in more extensive pastures and fields becomes imminent. Lowering water tables lowers the risk of floods. Farm forestry reduces the water table level increase by preventing unnecessary water drainage.

This relationship can make maintenance much less for the farmers, gathering lesser expenses for weed tackling and generating optimum yields.

5. Medicinal and Food Produce

Farm forests also yield products that farmers can use for food or medicinal purposes, such as ferns, mushrooms, nuts, fruits, sap, ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, ferns, galax, etc. In addition, farmers can utilize fibres, dyes, animal fodder, and many other necessities for their economic gains.

They can even use the wood obtained from plantations for handcraft and speciality wood products such as baskets and craftwork such as mulches, aromatics, and making carving tools.


Farm forestry can help farmers in Ireland and elsewhere who are already struggling to stay afloat with agriculture alone. It is not labour-intensive. Hence there is not much cost to grow and maintain the forest. Better management policies and help from concerned authorities can increase the yield of commercially needed timber, which gets used in housing, fencing, etc.

Fintan Riordan

Fintan Riordan

For a quarter of a century, Fintan Riordan has been devoted to the world of forestry. It all started with a profound respect for trees, leading to a dedicated pursuit of sustainable and high-quality cultivation. Embracing organic methods, Fintan ensures the timber from his forest is of the highest standard while also championing environmental health.Being an esteemed member of the Organic Farming Association as well as the Christmas Tree Growers Association, his dedication to organic principles and leading industry standards is clear. Furthermore, he possesses a recognized qualification in Organic Farming Principles. Fintan's Christmas tree farm is a shining example of sustainable farming, offering families the joy of choosing naturally grown trees each holiday season. More than just a business, the farm is dedicated to reducing its carbon impact and fostering a greener world.For Fintan, it's about harmonizing immediate needs with future sustainability. His trees, in their majestic splendor, also represent a commitment to eco-friendly practices that uplift the community.
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