In honour of National Tree Week, Coillte have conducted a survey which reveals that 70% of Irish adults think forests are providing a mental and physical wellness boost during the pandemic.

General findings

The research found that nine out of 10 Irish adults like trees, as they are a reminder of nature’s beauty and help in lifting their spirits.

Three-quarters of Irish adults have pleasant memories of walking or hiking in their local forest as a child, with almost the same proportion (74%) reporting happy memories of having a picnic with their family and friends.

Of those surveyed, 86% agree that more trees need to be planted to help tackle global warming, while 91% understand trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and clean the air. An average of 54% of people understand that the floors, roofs and doorframes of their homes contain wood from Irish forests.

Appreciation for forests

Mark Carlin, managing director at Coillte Forest, recalls that visitor numbers to Coillte’s forests have doubled - and even tripled, in some cases - since lockdown began last March. Areas like the Dublin Mountains have been very popular.

“We’re delighted so many people appreciate their local forests and outdoor spaces more during lockdown,” says Mark.

“We encourage people to seek out and enjoy their local Coillte forest while respecting the 5km Covid restrictions.”

Recreational time

The survey also highlighted how people spend their time in the forests of Ireland, with 65% of people choosing to go for a walk or exercise by themselves.

59% of those surveyed like walking with their spouse or partner, while three out of 10 enjoy walking their dog.

A quarter of Irish adults visit their local forest to provide their children with exercise, while 15% spend their time picnicking.

Public use

Finally, the survey investigated whether people were aware of how many Coillte forests exist for public use. It revealed that 56% of Irish adults are not aware that there are at least 250 public recreational forests with marked walking trails in Ireland.

Furthermore, 63% of adults didn’t know that Coillte has an open forestry policy, which means you can visit all 6,000 forest properties nationwide.

“It will be a positive for many people to learn there are so many Coillte forests and they are free to explore with their friends and family,” concludes Mark.

Donating Trees

As this year’s sponsor of National Tree Week, Coillte will donate over 100,000 tree saplings nationwide in partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland and the Easy Treesie Project. The Easy Treesie Project is helping children plan one million trees, one for each child in Ireland by 2023. The trees supplied by Coillte will be planted by school children across the country this year.

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