Frequently Asked Questions...

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Who?

The One Million Trees in One Day team is coordinated by many individuals and organisations in Ireland, Northern Ireland and further afield who have helped to design and produce the concept over several years. For more information please visit the ‘About The Team' page on this website by clicking here.

Where?

One Million Trees in One Day is a cross-border initiative covering the 32 counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We work with farmers, smallholders, community groups, schools, colleges and other landowners to coordinate hundreds of planting sites to accommodate trees each year. We have planted over 3,000 sites during our pilot projects.

The One Million Trees in One Day concept is designed to travel and the team hopes to see it move to other countries in future years.

When?

This year 2016 we are working to secure full funding for the project with the aim of planting a million trees in one day during the winter 2016/17 planting season.

During the pilot planting days run in 2013 - 2016 the initiative has planted over 650,000 trees at more than 3,000 sites across the island.

How?

Many hands make light work! All of our landowners collect their trees from local distribution points and plant them with help from family, friends and whoever else they can rope in. We provide extra volunteer helpers for larger sites.

After the planting we monitor the trees with surveys, visits and feedback from the landowners to ensure that trees establish successfully.

What sort of trees and woodlands will you plant?

One Million Trees in One Day focuses on native broadleaf trees of native Irish seed provenance grown in Ireland.

We plant individual trees, groups of trees, orchards, small woodlands, hedgerows, shelter belts, coppice groves, agroforestry projects, reforestation sites and larger woodlands.

For details of the tree species we will be planting please visit ‘The Trees' page on this website by clicking here.

Who will look after the trees?  What is the maintenance plan?

The trees are looked after by the landowners accommodating them.

We give out regular advice on weeding, pruning, thinning and managing the trees both as they establish and into the future. 

We keep in close contact with landowners to monitor the planting sites so that any problems can be addressed.

The project encourages very low impact management with minimal use of guards and stakes and weeding only where necessary and without chemical sprays.

Will there always be a million trees or are you going to cut them all down?

We hope to run this project every year so that many millions of trees will be established in time.

We aim to see establishment rates of over 80% at all of our planting sites via practical schemes using well adapted young native trees.

Our aim is to establish continuous tree and woodland cover that will be managed sustainably for many generations; tree numbers will rise and fall over the years.

Many of our projects will see selected trees thinned, coppiced and felled in future years, some trees will grow old and die or blow down in storms, other trees may be attacked by pests and diseases, however, the trees will also drop seed and see new generations of trees grow up so that there should always be trees on the sites established.

For more information about continuous cover management please read on down the questions below.

Will you use chemical weed killers at the planting sites?

One Million Trees in One Day is committed to low impact and sustainable management of the all of the trees and woodlands planted. We ask landowners not to use glyphosate based or other chemical weed-killers on any of the sites.

We encourage hand weeding or mulching of trees if necessary to control weeds, however, longer grass and some weeds provide shelter for young trees while they establish strong roots. The competition does slow the trees in their early growth, but they soon reach above the weeds and will begin to shade them out after a couple of growing seasons.

Will every planting site be open to the public?

Most of the tree planting sites are located on farm land and other private land and are not open to the public.

Trees planted at community sites and on council owned land are generally easily accessible to local people and the general public.

Who owns the land and who owns the trees?

All land offered to One Million Trees in One Day for planting trees remains the property of the land owner; we do not own or formally lease the planting sites.

All trees given out as part of the project become the property of the landowner on agreement that they will be managed under continuous cover as a long term resource.

Who will take profits made on trees harvested?

Any profits generated by the trees and woodlands from timber, firewood or material sales go to the landowner.

We aim to demonstrate that trees and woodlands managed sustainably can be economically viable and worth looking after.

Why do it in one day and not in a week or over a few months?

We want to capture the imagination of the Irish people and believe that the dramatic scale of the project will do that. We hope to surprise people and cheer them up with the idea that something this big can be done in one day.

Many hands make light work…. This project relies on the good will and good spirit of individuals and teams co-ordinating small areas of activity to make one giant network for the day of planting itself.

How is the project funded?

One Million Trees in One Day relies heavily on donations from the general public, contributions from landowners and from local businesses to fund the project. The project is run almost entirely by a network of volunteers who contribute huge amounts of time and energy to help it grow and develop on a shoe string budget.

As we do not own or formally lease the land we plant on, we are not eligible for most large public and private funding schemes.

Republic of Ireland: We do not receive any formal funding in the Republic of Ireland, our planting projects are funded entirely by donations and by contributions from landowners. 

Northern Ireland: We have gained steady funding support in Northern Ireland through the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland and from other generous groups who are able to help us with funds. Each season we aim to build on this formal funding whilst working hard to bring in donations and contributions from landowners to reach our planting targets.

Cross Border Funding: We do not receive any sort of cross border funding or support - we note this because it is often assumed that we do!

New Application Fees for Tree Planting Schemes:
This year we have introduced application fees to our planting schemes. 

With constant uncertainty surrounding annual funding rounds for environmental and forestry projects in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, we feel the project will benefit from a more self-sustaining model for its funding.  We aim to deliver a strong, practical project which can run consistent annual schemes for farmers and smallholders to access trees for their land.

The new application fees will contribute to the following costs:

  • Our core running costs:  Office, administration and fundraising costs and expenses.
  • Project costs:  Insurance for the planting events; packing, wrapping and labelling trees; delivery and distribution of trees and purchase of some trees for the tree packs.


What's the difference between tree cover and woodland?

Tree Cover is the term used broadly to describe trees that do not consitute a formal woodland.  Small groups of trees, rows of trees, hedges, orchards, agroforestry and shelter belts are all examples of tree cover which are not woodland or forest.

Tree cover all over Ireland and the UK has declined over the last centuries as hedges, orchards, shelter belts and many scattered groups of trees have been removed in the drive to increase productive agricultural acreage.

Tree cover is extremely important; even in small numbers and at low densities trees can provide significant benefits and add resilience and diversity to the local landscape.   Tree cover provides useful resources and services: Shelter and shade for livestock, soil stabilisation and improvement, interruption and absorption of rainwater and nutrient run-off, firewood supply, wildlife support, timber and stake supply, fruit, nuts and many other materials.

The resources and services that have been lost with the removal of tree cover must now be built or brought in to supplement everything that was taken away with the trees.

One Million Trees in One Day works on both Tree Cover and Woodland establishment projects.

Why plant trees on farms?

Productive land is always a priority on working farms, but there are many places where trees can be established on farms without impacting significantly on either arable or pasture acreages.

While there isn't always space to establish a large woodland, every farm has space for a few trees, in the corners of fields, along drives and tracks, as hedges and shelter belts or around the house and farm buildings.

Trees provide many useful resources and services to farms including: Shelter and shade for livestock, biodiversity support for wild plants and animals, nutrient and rainwater interruption and absorption, firewood and timber supply and fruit and nut supplies.

With Ireland and the UK being some of the least forested places in Europe, adding trees to farmland has the scope to bring tree cover levels up without impacting on productive land. Our Farmers and Smallholders' Schemes provide trees for agricultural holdings for small woodland establishment, shelter belt and hedgerow establishment, orchard and coppice establishment and for agroforestry projects.

What is 'Continuous Cover Forestry' and why is it good?

Continuous Cover Forestry is an ancient management system where trees and woodlands are maintained with an uneven-aged and often mixed species structure. Individual trees or small groups of trees are selected and harvested when they are required.

Continuous cover is an alternative to modern forestry systems where plantations of trees (often monocultures of one species) are grown for a fixed time and clearfelled entirely as a timber crop. Whilst clearfelling forests can produce profits, it has significant negative environmental and social impacts which can be avoided entirely with continuous cover systems.

Benefits of Continuous Cover:

Reduced costs: The different growth rates and rotation lengths of species in a continuous cover woodland mean that several new generations of trees are already established when more mature trees are harvested. Young trees grow from seed dropped by older trees and shoot up rapidly towards the light let in when an older tree falls or is felled. This natural system reduces or removes entirely the significant costs of restocking woodlands and protecting them while they re-establish. A clearfelled woodland usually must be started and replanted from scratch after felling and is followed by a long wait for the next harvest.

Regular Income: Continuous cover forestry focuses on efficient and high quality timber production through careful maintenance of and periodic removal of high value, long rotation tree species. A mixture of shorter rotation species in the understorey provides regular income from firewood, coppice poles and small sawlogs. A well managed woodland can provide a steady income over many many years.

Minimal Disturbance: The selective felling of individul trees and small coups of trees means that the woodland as a whole is very little disturbed; the delicate woodland ecosystems and habitats are maintained rather than lost. The opening of the canopy when trees are harvested benefits other flora and fauna who thrive in the new light and space. Continuous cover woodlands are usually associated with high biodiversity value as the mixture of species and variety of habitats support greater numbers of other species.

Soil Protection: Keeping the ground under permanent forest conditions means soils are not exposed to water and wind erosion. The increased stability of the forest stand itself due to its fuller uneven-aged structure, leads to less impact from storms and high winds. Landscape Protection: By minimising the significant landscape change that is inevitable with clearfelling, continuous tree cover retains its value at all times as a resource, an amenity and as part of the landscape.

Seed Sources: Trees which show the strongest growth, yield class, form and general quality must be protected and managed as a long term seed source. These trees, in time, will help to improve the quality of future generations of trees. It is natural for humans to select the best trees for felling but sadly this leaves us with more seed from poor trees than from well formed trees and thus a decline in quality rather than an improvement.

In using continuous cover management principles across all of our planting projects, One Million Trees in One Day is committed to creating environmentally, socially and economically valuable and sustainable woodlands.

What does sustainable woodland management mean?

A resource is sustainable if it is able to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising future generations.

Sustainable woodland management aims to provide for the present in terms of timber, fuel and other resources whilst ensuring that the woodland will continue to yield resources for many years into the future.

For more information about how we will manage the One Million Trees in One Day trees and woodlands please see the question on continuous cover forestry in these FAQs.

What is coppicing and why is it useful?

Coppicing is an ancient form of tree and woodland management where trees and shrubs are cut to ground level (usually in the winter) and allowed to grow again.

Trees respond to coppicing by sending up multiple stems or poles from the original stool which grow very vigorously. Periodic cutting can greatly extend the life of a tree; a coppiced tree can live and re-grow for hundreds of years from a stool which over time will reach a great size. Coppicing trees allows several sustainable harvests of timber and or firewood from one tree without the need for any replanting.

Pollarding is similar; the tree crown and branches are removed or pruned back hard (again usually in the winter). The tree will grow many branches or poles to form a new crown which may be pollarded again many times in the life of the tree. Pollarding is useful because the branches are up higher than coppice poles and can't be reached by livestock. Very old pollards are often found in places where animals have always grazed beneath them (on old pasture, parkland and on common-land), they have survived for centuries without damage and have provided shelter and shade to generations of sheep, cattle, horses and other animals.

Coppice and pollard work can be intermixed with other techniques as part of a continuous cover system of management.

Oak, ash, hazel, alder and willow are the native species most suited although most broadleaved trees will coppice well enough.

Coppice and pollard trees and woodland can be managed to develop a local, sustainable wood-fuel or biomass supply as well as providing good straight timber lengths for building materials and carpentry. It is a very much under-used technique in Ireland and we hope to encourage its revival.

Why are trees good?

Almost everyone is aware that deforestation and the associated ecosystem and biodiversity loss reduce local resilience to climate changes as well as contributing to these changes.

The global environment and the different ecosystems it contains provide important services and resources called Ecosystem Services; these are generally detailed under the following categories of Provisioning Services, Regulating and Supporting Services and Cultural Services.

Trees and woodlands provide many different and vital ecosystem services:

Provisioning Services: Trees and woodlands provide timber for building, carpentry and paper making and also wood-fuel and biomass fuel resources. Woodlands and individual trees provide habitat for many different species of plants, animals, birds and other living things. These living things all rely upon and in turn contribute to the ecosystems they inhabit. Fruit and nut trees provide a food source not just for humans but also for birds, animals and other creatures.

Regulating and Supporting Services: Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give out oxygen and thus play a vital role in regulating the air that we breathe. Trees lock up or store carbon from the carbon dioxide absorbed and therefore regulate the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Trees absorb rainwater and can help to reduce and prevent flooding. Tree roots also bind improve and protect the soil where they are planted preventing soil erosion from wind, rain and flooding. Trees absorb excess nutrients from the soil especially from agricultural processes and prevent these nutrients from polluting local streams and rivers. Trees add moisture to the atmosphere and play a vital role in cloud production, thus further cooling the earth, and helping to mitigate global warming.

Cultural services: Trees and woodlands provide valuable social, aesthetic and cultural benefits. Woodlands are popular with both tourists and local communities as a leisure and recreational amenity. Woodlands also provide cultural, educational and employment opportunities through the learning and practice of forestry, woodworking, building and carpentry skills as well as other traditional techniques and crafts.

What is biodiversity and why is it good?

Biodiversity (or Biological Diversity) is, most simply, the variety of life on earth.

Biodiversity includes all living things, from bacteria and earthworms and bees to foxes and birds and trees.

The biodiversity we see today is a result of millions of years of natural selection. Biodiversity includes diversity of species, genetic diversity within species, and diversity of habitats and is measured under the following headings:

Species: The variety of different species in an ecosystem or habitat. Most ecosystems support a wide variety of species, each species having its own niche.

Genetic: This is the variation between individuals of the same species. A higher genetic variation within a species allows the species to better adapt to changing conditions.

Ecosystems: The variety of ecosystems on earth, such as woodlands, wetlands, rivers and lakes. No ecosystem is entirely on its own, they are all inter-connected. A healthy ecosystem with a large degree of biodiversity provides a wide range of natural 'services' or benefits. They range from protection of water resources, soil formation, nutrient storage and recycling, contribution to climatic stability, food production, wood production and medicinal resources.

All agriculture, freshwater and marine resources depend on biodiversity. Without grass and plants to feed farm animals, without bees as pollinators of plants, without bats eating pest insects etc., humans would not be able to survive. The earth functions like an incredibly complex machine, if the components start to vanish, it will no longer function effectively. We cannot survive without the interconnected complex of lifeforms that form the ecosystems which we depend upon.

We do all we can to encourage and support strong biodiversity in and around the trees and woodlands planted by One Million Trees in One Day.

What is Agroforestry?

Agroforestry is a land use and management system where trees and shrubs are grown on pasture or arable land amongst or around livestock and or arable crops.  This is in contrast to traditional farming where trees and shrubs are usually removed from agricultural land to maximise the productive area.

Agroforestry brings many benefits to farm land: 

  • Trees help to protect arable and pasture land by interrupting and absorbing excess water and nutrients and helping to prevent the loss of top soil by water and wind erosion. 
  • Trees provide valuable shelter and shade for livestock which must otherwise be provided by buildings. 
  • Trees can improve soil quality by adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil from fallen leaves and twigs. 
  • Trees lock up and store carbon which helps to mitigate against carbon produced by agricultural industry. 
  • Depending on the species the trees can be managed and harvested to produce sustainable sources of firewood, timber, fodder, fruit and nuts in addition to the existing produce from animals or crops on the same land.  These extra products can help to diversify and increase a farmer's income by using the same piece of land for more than one purpose and therefore more than one income.
  • Trees on farm land provide food and habitat for many species of plants, insects and animals which would not live on open pasture or arable land.  Encouraging a greater diversity of both plants and animals increases general local resiliance to climatic changes, storms, pests and diseases. 
  • It is possible to add quite large numbers of trees onto open farm land without impacting significantly on agricultural acreage.

One Million Trees in One Day has worked closely with farmers across Ireland and Northern Ireland to establish agroforestry systems and trials on working farmland.  We are keen to work with any farmers and landowners who have an interest in establishing agroforestry on their land.