Why do it?
The beautiful Pinus sylvestris is Ireland’s only native pine tree which, according to pollen and archaeological records, once dominated the Burren landscape. Thought to have died out in Ireland around 1,500 years ago, it was later reintroduced from Scotland, leading to its common name ‘Scots pine’. Thrillingly however, recent investigations by scientists at Trinity College Dublin found that an isolated population of native pine trees survived at a remote site in the Burren, Co. Clare. These native trees appear to have maintained their continuity in the area over the last 2,000 years and are genetically distinct from the introduced Scots pine trees. This is the only confirmed stand of native pine trees in Ireland and constitutes an extremely rare and valuable genetic resource of high conservation importance.
The ambition of the Burrenbeo Trust is to help restore some pine-dominated woodland communities in the Burren by planting several small ‘mini-forests’ across the region which will act as ‘nurseries’ for the future expansion of this wonderful ‘almost-lost’ across Ireland.
How will it work?
Sourcing Seeds: Seeds from the isolated population of native pines have been collected under license from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, nurtured and grown in a local nursery in individual pots, and are now ready to be planted out. Each of these young (2-3-year-old) pine saplings, the provenance of which is certified by the Forest Service), is colour-coded to link it to its parent tree in the Burren.
Planting out: Burrenbeo has identified several local landowners who are generously willing to donate 0.1ha plots to host these trees in perpetuity. We also have a team of conservation volunteers who will plant, protect and manage the trees and the sites. The great thing about this unique restoration project is that all income generated will be used to support Burrenbeo’s award-winning conservation work.
Want to learn more?
Please visit our webpage on the Burren Pine Project for further information and links to related scientific papers and articles.