About the Millennium Forests

Over 607 hectares, (fifteen hundred acres) of native Irish woodland were restored and designated as 16 'Millennium Forests', and are dedicated in perpetuity to the people of Ireland. There are two types of Millennium forests: new and mature native woodlands. The new forests were naturally regenerated and planted using native Irish seed. The mature woodlands are at least 200 years old and most are almost certainly much older. A native tree was planted on behalf of every household in Ireland and a certificate was posted to all homes giving details as to where trees were planted under the Family Tree Scheme. These trees were planted as part of the restoration of these native woodland communities, which are valuable remnants of our once vast native forest resource. The forests form a lasting legacy for all to enjoy and include woodland walks, nature trails, interpretative and recreational facilities.

The Millennium project shows that this generation cares about our natural heritage. Future generations will look back to the year 2000 as the year when a positive statement was acted upon, signifying the development and rehabilitation of our native woodlands for the benefit of us all.

Virtually all of the forests are located on old native broadleaf woodland sites and six are within candidate Special Areas of Conservation (cSAC). The sites are being managed sensitively using best ecological management practices. Since the Millennium project other woodland restoration projects have been carried out, for example, the ‘Restoring Priority Woodland Habitat in Ireland’ project jointly funded by the European Union DG-Environment and Coillte under the EU LIFE-Nature Programme - 2006 to 2009 www.woodlandrestoration.ie.  In addition, Ireland’s first National Native Woodland Survey was completed in 2008. You can view the survey here.

The Forest Service launched the Native Woodland Scheme in late 2001 which addresses the conservation of old native woodlands and the creation of new native woodlands in the public and private sector. To date, nearly 5,000 ha have been managed under this new scheme. Please read about the People's Millennium Forest 2011-2021.

In 2011, the People's Milllennium Forests are developing into vibrant and diverse ecological woodlands.  Guided walks are arranged for 22nd May, 2011 and also a photo competition which will run throughout the summer.

In the past other aspects of the Millennium Forests project included a mobile exhibition, a schools programme on native woodlands, books about the project and a native woodland training programme for practitioners, land- and woodland owners. You can view details of some of the past events that were held to celebrate the Millennium Forest

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