Episode 1 – Trees

8.30pm, RTÉ One, Monday 13th November 2023

Trees - Dheeraj and Jonathan

When it comes to trees, Ireland has deep roots. Forests once covered a massive 80% of Ireland’s land surface and there were laws protecting certain trees. Characters in early Medieval Irish alphabets were named after native trees and who would want to cut down a Hawthorn tree for fear of angering the faeries? But today, forests only cover 11% of the country. With a drive to increase that figure to 18% by 2050, the government view forests as an essential element to achieving net zero emissions by 2050… but is 18% of Irish land enough? And as we still need timber for construction and furniture making, how do we balance our forestry needs?

In this episode we discuss how better land management and land planting trees is an essential part of our climate goals, we meet the researchers who are breeding trees to create better quality timber and tackle devastating diseases like ash dieback, and reflect on how literature can shape our views on trees and nature.

And in Curious Chronicles, Fergus reveal the fascinating origins of the silent tree guardians of Ireland’s graveyards…

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