Woodlands, trees and hedgerows are an environmental, economic, amenity and landscape resource of great importance. They contribute significantly to the biodiversity and landscape character of the county and form part of a network of habitats, ecological ‘corridors’ and ‘stepping stones’ essential for wildlife to flourish and move between and within habitats. They are also an important part of our townscapes.
Tree Register of Ireland
The Tree Register of Ireland (TROI) is a database of outstanding trees in Ireland based on characteristics such as age, height, diameter, historical or folklore connections compiled by the http://treecouncil.ie/ . Click http://treecouncil.ie/?s=kilkenny to see the significant trees in County Kilkenny on the TROI.
National Survey of Native Woodlands
The National Survey of Native Woodlands can be found here http://www.npws.ie/research-projects/woodlands, commissioned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, identified 58 sites worthy of survey in Kilkenny. Many of the woodlands surveyed are high in biodiversity, some hosting species which are unique to Ireland or confined to a small number of countries.
Ancient woodlands are defined in Ireland as areas which have been wooded since 1660. For an Inventory of ancients and long established woodland in Ireland click on the following link http://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/IWM46.pdf commissioned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, has identified a total of 28 possible ancient woodlands and long established ancient woodlands in County Kilkenny.
Legal Protection for Trees and Woodlands
There are a number of legislative measures that provide for the protection of trees and woodlands. These include:
- Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)
Trees, which are the subject of a TPO, cannot be felled unless the owner also obtains planning permission. See the Kilkenny County Development Plan 2014-2020 (Appendix F) for list of TPO’s in the county. Consult with the Parks Department of the County Council for the most up-to-date list.
- Tree Felling
It is illegal to uproot or cut down any tree unless notice of intention to do so has been given in accordance with the 1946 Forestry Act.
For more information about woodlands and trees please contact the Kilkenny County Council Parks Department on 056-7794470.
Native Tree and Shrub Planting – finding the right tree for your space
The choice of appropriate tree and shrub species is very important in urban areas where there are restrictions on space. Where possible, use native species. Trees and shrubs that grow naturally in the surrounding countryside are often the best choice for your town or village. They support local wildlife, thrive in your climatic and soil conditions, and require little maintenance. Click here for a list of trees and shrubs native to Ireland, and advice on the locations to which they are suited.
The following useful publications relate to native woodlands and native trees:
• Ireland’s Woodland Heritage – A Guide to Ireland’s Native Woodlands
• Our Trees – A Guide to Growing Ireland’s Native Trees, this is available on the Tree Council of Ireland’s publications page .
Most of Ireland’s oldest hedgerows, which are rich in plant varieties, have been in existence since 1750-1850 when open or ‘common’ land in Ireland was enclosed.
Hedgerows contribute significantly to the biodiversity and landscape character of County Kilkenny. They have an important farming function, help prevent flooding, are wildlife habitats, and wildlife corridors between habitats, and they also have historical significance as townland and field boundaries.
Hedgerows are afforded protection under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000, which prohibits the cutting of hedges during the bird nesting period (1st March -1st September).
Kilkenny County Council has undertaken surveys of hedgerows in a number of settlements around the county (Kilkenny City, Gowran, Fiddown, Piltown, Johnstown, Urlingford, Ballyragget, Ballyhale, Mooncoin, and Knocktopher), as part of Habitat and Green Infrastructure Assessments.