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Northern Ireland puts down roots

Northern Ireland, one of the most sparsely forested countries in Europe, has said it has plans to regenerate swathes of land by planting native tree species. The lovely Woodland Trust has teamed up with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to expand existing Burntollet Wood ten miles north of Londonderry in the Faughan Valley. The project will be a 58 acre regeneration project and Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said “We have the unenviable reputation of being one the least wooded areas of Europe” adding “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. 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 will be planting 36,000 native trees, which will buffer the nearby fragments of ancient woodland” adding “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.”