The feel of moist moss, cool beneath me, like living clothes around the bark of a tree. An explosion of life above, the urgent flapping of wings, the warning call of a bird disturbed by your presence. The fallen leaves coagulate into a wet carpet, tapestried with scandent stems of ivy decorated with dark green leaves. A breeze makes music with the wood, as your footfalls crunch a rhythm in the earth, the magic of the forest is all around us. We share the woods, we share the planet.
Trees are majestic, often magnificent and sometimes considered to be magical. There are legends and lore of individual trees, there is superstition and stories of the forests, big bad wolves and candy houses where witches live. These are the stories of humans. Forests and woods play a big part of your fiction, but they are very much part of your reality. 80% of terrestrial diversity of the planet is found in forests. Worldwide 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods.
Forests cover 31% of the worlds land surface, 40% of EU territory. Spain’s woodland cover is about 37%, Finland is the most forested country in the EU with approximately 74% of the country covered in forest. 8.3% of Ireland is covered in woodland. According to one set of statistics countries in Europe with less percentage woodland cover than Ireland are; Moldova, Armenia, Isle of Man ,Channel Islands, San Marino, Malta, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Monaco and Vatican City.
Scoodoos have been seen recently in Ireland, in Mayo, the gaelic name is Maigh Eo, which translates as the plain of the yew. If you drive around the county there are very few yew to be seen, this makes us Scodoos very sad. In the past trees played an important part in the lives of the Celts who lived in our ancient woods. They had an alphabet based aound trees called ogham. They valued trees, they lived with trees. The forests provided food, they were shelter, they were fuel, they were home. People believed in their power and respected the importance of trees. They asked permission from the trees before they cut them, they used trees to build, trade and burn, but they did not only expoit their resources.
There are no plains of yew, no woods of this beautiful dark green tree with red fruits, now it is seen only in gardens, or graveyards. Soodoos need trees, humans need trees.
Trees are part of your past, your present and your future. They photosynthesize, making food from carbon dioxide and water, they effect the climate, clean the air, enrich the soil, provide habitats for wildlife. You can harvest food, use their raw material and enjoy forests as amenities, but respect nature. Replant trees when you fell one, ask nicely before you cut one, and we can live together in harmony. There are no big bad wolves, no witches, no evil in the forests. They are magical, they are beautiful, we need more trees.