Save our Planet…plant more Trees.

10 Feb


The weather is the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. Since before Christmas we have been battered by Atlantic storms. Another one is building out there…reckoned to strike on Wednesday. This morning we had snow.


It was pretty for the short time it lasted… soon to be washed away by rain. Then there was a period of sunshine. All the seasons in one day.


The rain has been so constant this Winter…it wears one down. So hard for farmers and animals not to mind the folks whose homes have been flooded here in Ireland and in England. Visiting Tipperary last week it was amazing to see lakes where they never were. At least the Swans are happy.


Great article in The Guardian newspaper today about this whole topic. You can read it here

In the article George Monbiot talks about how European Union agricultural policies are adding to the flooding woes. I presume the same policies apply here in Ireland.

“Water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate it sinks into the soil under grass. The roots of the trees provide channels down which the water flows deep into the ground.”

I always believed trees were an important part of protecting the land but this is an astonishing fact to contemplate. The message is clear…planting trees helps protect our Planet.


Further into the article it is revealed that if you are to receive your Single Farm Payment (from European Union), the largest component in farm subsidies, the land has to be free of  “unwanted vegetation.” This includes tree cover.

So…with no trees and shrubs to slow down the rain run off it all flows straight down the hills…probably taking topsoil with it…into the rivers and into the towns and villages causing….yes! you’ve guessed it…flooding.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s crazy to be driving landowners into removing tree cover from land. It leaves the land without shelter for wildlife and farm animals not to mind the damage to the land itself. I think the people in Brussels who devise these policies need some new advisors…preferably ones with some love of the Planet and maybe an interest in Permaculture…as opposed to a love of money. Production is their only goal…and it seems like it’s damn the consequences.

36 Responses to “Save our Planet…plant more Trees.”

  1. limewindow February 10, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

    You make some great points Bridget – permaculture is the only way forward but those who hold power/money are too busy splicing seeds & such nonsense, in an effort to further dominate an increasingly struggling planet/population. Our only saving grace in Ireland is that we have enough land to feed ourselves, where Europe does not, if it comes to the crunch.

    • bridget February 10, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

      The pity though is that we have stopped feeding ourselves. Most of our fruit and veg is now imported. The only thing we seem to be self sufficient in now are dairy and meat products. Even our sugar industry was abolished by the EU.

  2. silverbells2012 February 11, 2014 at 2:41 am #

    You could get it back, I’m sure. Thanks for the shocking information about the rules on trees (or lack of them).

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      So shocking that farmers are being encouraged to take out tree and shrub cover.

  3. Linne February 11, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    Thanks for the information about how trees help prevent flooding. I’m re-blogging this post, as some of my readers are permies and will find this useful, I’m sure. ~ Linne

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 8:46 am #

      Thanks for reblog Linne. I had never heard that figure before of how much a difference the trees actually make. Amazing! Does’nt make any sense to have policies which encourage their removal.

  4. KL February 11, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Whenever I read about all these European policies in your blog, I get so surprised that I find them hard to believe. I always thought Europe and European laws regarding nature, climate, environment would be different and unique. Darn! they are not.

    We need to plant in more trees for everything — for climate, topsoil protection, ground-water protection, environment, wildlife and our health. People must be absolutely crazy if they cut down trees or advocate cutting down trees.

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      One would imagine the policies coming from Europe would be protecting the environment but alas no. It seems money and production are the only values.

  5. Linne February 11, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Reblogged this on A Random Harvest and commented:
    Stuff I never knew: like how trees can help prevent flooding.
    Narf7, this is the other Irish site I mentioned some time ago. ~ Linne

  6. alderandash February 11, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Thanks for flagging up that article – really interesting. We have a little patch on our land that floods every year, so I’ve been planting alder and willow in/around in – I hope they will help soak up/drain away the water, one day. More bad weather on its way today, hope you stay dry – and everyone in Somerset – and south England too, where the Thames has burst its banks. People in a few small coastal villages in Norfolk/Wales are now talking about ‘managed retreat’ apparently – and their local councils are starting to look at how to help people move when the value of their house has collapsed because of the flood risk. But the politicians have yet to catch on and still say there’s no need for this – grrr!

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

      George Monbiot is such a great environmentalist and writer. I admire him a lot…he talks sense. As to the politicians…dont get me started…

  7. pianolearner February 11, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    A really interesting post, which I completely agree with. 🙂

  8. Kathryn Marsh February 11, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    A friend in West Cork is struggling to find two thousand euro to repay to the Dept Ag because he planted trees and won’t cut them down again. But don’t blame Europe for this – it is the way our own bureaucrats in the Dept Ag are using the regulations. In many other European countries farmers get extra, not less, for allowing native vegetation to come back on marginal land. We are lucky – our place is too small to get subsidies so the trees we planted years ago are now doing their job and keeping the river out of our house as well as providing us with fuel, construction material, compost material etc
    It’s time for some hard lobbying to encourage, not discourage, the planting of mixed vegetation, not monocrop forestry which is nearly as bad as no trees. We need scrub on our hills. Many of the fires of recent years were caused by farmers having a choice between clearing the land and paying back subsidies. And it isn’t even land that will produce much in the way of food if you put sheep and cattle on it

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

      Crazy that someone is being fined for planting trees. Have they lost touch with reality in the Dept. I’ve seen farmers in the mountainous areas in Roscommon burning gorse. It then gets out of hand and turns into a huge fire causing lots of damage.

  9. Sarah February 11, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I’m no expert, but the EU policies always sound very short sighted – set up for short term financial gain in place of long term environmental security. Maybe with the current weather and flooding the politicians will see their policies in a different way?

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      One would hope so Sarah…don’t hold your breath though!

  10. John Willmott February 11, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    I saw a crazy example of this coming back on the train yesterday. not far past where the Shannon and its tributaries had broke its banks and flooding many fields some crazy farmers have just cleared the hedging between their fields and the railway track, hedging of hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel and quite a few birches there. They have replaced this all with a fence. What benefits do they think this will have ??? The fence will not even last as long as the trees. If security of livestock was a concern why not fence in front of the hedge. Total madness,

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

      Madness indeed! In a few years they’ll be giving out grants to replace the trees and hedging. It seems these rule makers in Brussels have no idea about environmental impacts of their policies.

  11. Christina February 11, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Thought provoking post. It is dreadful that police, politicians are making this problem worse with their policies, a bit like the fish that are thrown back because they’re the wrong species, but they’re still dead!

  12. Small House Under a Big Sky February 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    i sure hear you. Unfortunately many are the same here in the US. Short term thinking about cutting trees down to make more tillable farm land or for development. No thinking about the long term and the many effects of creation of oxygen, habitat for birds and wildlife, the amount of water these trees soak up and so on. SO sad and frustrating.

  13. narf77 February 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    I just got here from Linnes reblog of your post and find it incredulous that farmers need to clear all of their land to access grants despite it being well known that clearing increases the risk of flooding and salination of the soil. When I lived in Western Australia you could see the legacy of tree felling in the paddocks. The ultimate irony was that once you remove the trees and the water table rises so does the mineral content of the soil in most cases rendering the soil sterile for anything but the most hardy plants to grow in and useless for cropping or growing feed for animals. It would seem that the psychopaths who make up the 1% controlling the finances of the earth (and thus the political sway) could care less about the future of the earth and their children’s futures in the process. Planting trees is one way that we can give a little bit back to try to redress some of the imbalance. I will be planting hedgerows all around our property and in between the blocks this autumn.

    • Kathryn Marsh February 11, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      The best way to see what happens when you remove tree cover is to go and look at the Burren. It is certainy beautiful, and the flora is amazing, but limestone pavements are the result of farmers taking off tree cover, and they don’t support much in the way of life

      • narf77 February 12, 2014 at 12:42 am #

        NO idea where the Burren is. I live in Northern Tasmania and I would imagine it is somewhere in Ireland? A bit far to go but through the magic of the internet I can probably get a good idea what you are talking about :).

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      It seems the people who make the rules ignore all the evidence from other countries which shows the craziness of their ideas. In a few years they’ll be giving out grants for farmers to replant trees where they’re being felled now.

      • narf77 February 12, 2014 at 12:43 am #

        Which is exactly what they are doing in Western Australia…seems we are actually ahead of you for once! 😉

      • bridget February 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

        Some of us realise the value of trees but sadly the majority do not. Glad you lot have it sussed.

      • narf77 February 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

        We now live in Tasmania where they would love to cut the whole lot down and ship them off to make woodchips somewhere in Asia 😦 if there is any profit at all in something it is highly unlikely that our governments will listen to the voice of reason 😦

  14. Caro (Urban Veg Patch) February 11, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Food for thought there, Bridget – and very well presented. Yet again, more evidence of financial greed destroying the land. I bet the people making these policies would claim to disagree with felling trees in the Brazilian rainforest but are doing the same thing to the land they’re entrusted to protect here. The stupidity is staggering.

    • bridget February 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Well said! I share your sentiments…as you know already.

  15. elaine February 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    People have been saying this for years – why does no one take any notice till it is too late. Such complacency and greed – and now we are suffering the consequences.

  16. PlantPostings February 12, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    Too bad similar problems are happening around the world. I guess there’s always hope, but sometimes it’s hard to find. I hope your excessive rain abates soon.

  17. wellywoman February 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    The storm has hit us, as I’m sure it has you. Hope you’re safe. It’s wearing me down. Nearly 3 months of this now. I get so frustrated that people won’t see this IS climate change. It’s what people have said would happen and then when it does they are blind to it. There are going to be lots of very difficult choices to be made over the coming years about where we live and how. The Somerset Levels sadly may not be habitable in the future.

    • bridget February 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      It looking that way for the poor folks in Somerset all right. So sorry for them. At least we have the comfort of a cosy home to retreat to in this weather. They have the weather invading every nook and cranny. Miserable. Similar problems, although on a lesser scale in the south and west of Ireland.

  18. Donna@GardensEyeView February 15, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    I completely agree with you…trees will be one of the biggest ways to save our planet…but the greed will kill us for sure.

    • bridget February 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

      There’s enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.

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