MORE than half a million native trees are set to be planted on bogland that's no longer used for peat production in Ireland.
The trees will be scattered across over 1,500 hectares of Bord na Móna land in Offaly, Laois, Westmeath and Tipperary over the next three years, according to the Irish Examiner.
The woodland project, which was officially announced today, will focus on growing a mix of native Irish trees such as downy birch, scots pine, alder and other broadleaves like hazel and holly.
It's a collaboration involving Coillte and Bord na Móna, and is part of the government’s Climate Action Plan which has committed to planting 440m trees by 2040, which is 22m trees a year for the next 20 years.
Bord na Móna also plans to rehabilitate some 35,000 hectares of its peatlands by 2025.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Richard Bruton says the project will see the lands "transformed into rich native woodlands".
"Our land is one of our most powerful tools in responding to the climate challenge. This project is a great example of how we can better use our resources to step up our response, to what is the most crucial issue of this generation," Mr Bruton said.
"Not only are woodlands crucial to absorb carbon emissions, but they are essential for preserving Ireland’s biodiversity. The focus of this project is on native Irish trees and animal species."
Tom Donnellan, chief executive of Bord na Móna said the company is "decarbonising its business" and changing how it manages bogs.
"As we step back from our traditional operations, our new business approach involves different, innovative activities across our estate and in many cases that involves a range of new partnerships," he said.
He added that the company intends to rehabilitate a total of 35,000 hectares of peatlands by 2025.