The extent of recent peatland afforestation in Ireland.

  • Kevin Black School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
  • Phillip O'Brien Environmental Research Centre, Environmental Protection Agency, Richview, Clonskeagh, Dublin 4, Ireland.
  • John Redmond Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford, Ireland..
  • Frank Barrett Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
  • Mark Twomey Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Keywords: CORINE, peatland afforestation, national forest inventory.

Abstract

In 2004, the European Environmental Agency’s (EEA) Spatial Analysis Group published findings from an analysis of CORINE data suggesting that 84% of the area afforested between 1990 and 2000 was on peat soils. The negative implications of these widely publicised statistics have been raised by environmentalists and policy makers alike. Our analysis shows that CORINE-based estimates of land use change are biased towards larger sized land parcels. Considering that more than 63% of land parcels afforested, in Ireland, since 1990 are less than 25 ha in size, the CORINE methodology tends to under represent the majority of afforested land parcels. In addition, comparison with high resolution Irish land cover and forest area geo data suggest that ca. 30% of the peatland area in the CORINE 2000 classification was misclassified. Work carried out by the Forest Service using the best available high-resolution data, estimated that the afforested area on peatlands is much lower than estimated by the EEA, representing 43.5% of total afforestation between 1990 and 2000. These results have been recently confirmed following the completion of the national forest inventory (NFI 2007a). This field-based assessment, which comprised 1,742 permanent sample plots, suggests that the percentage of peat afforestation between 1990 and 2000 ranged from 46 to 51% of the total afforested area.
Published
2008-11-01
How to Cite
Black, K., O’Brien, P., Redmond, J., Barrett, F., & Twomey, M. (2008). The extent of recent peatland afforestation in Ireland. Irish Forestry. Retrieved from https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/10011
Section
Articles