Timber growers insist planting more trees is natural form of flood control

PLANTING more trees is a natural and effective flood control measure, the Government has been told.

It follows the failure of the country’s river drainage systems to cope with the recent deluge which caused devastation countrywide.

The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) said forests can play a very important role in regulating water flows. They reduce runoff and, therefore, the flood levels of the streams and rivers flowing from forested areas.

“While hugely expensive schemes are often proposed for flood control, we do have the economically viable option of planting more forests as a natural and very effective flood control measure.

“Well-planned afforestation and effective management of existing woodlands offer a significant protective function to adjoining waterways and groundwater catchments.

“This has positive implications for farmland, the associated rural community and also the wider population in the areas of flood control and wastewater treatment.”

The ITGA said research has shown that even trees as young as two years old make a perceptible difference to the rate at which water drains into rivers. This effect increases considerably with older trees.

Donal Whelan, technical director, said with only 10% of land area under forest, Ireland has huge scope to plant more trees.

“In addition to assisting with flood control, forests also provide climate change benefits by locking up carbon as well as providing employment and an economic return to farmers,” he said.


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