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Ireland’s targets for afforestation have received a boost thanks to a new intervention by Microsoft, working with Natural Capital Partners and Forest Carbon. The programme will enable the planting of trees on 137 hectares of land over 2017and 2018. Ireland is one of Europe’s least forested countries and the programme will make an important contribution to the country’s native woodland creation goals – targets which are not currently being met. The newly created forests will also sequester approximately 35,600 tonnes of carbon over 40 years, equivalent to removing 7,500 cars from the road for one year, contributing to Ireland’s national GHG emission reduction targets.

The programme began planting on sites in Cork, Kerry and Galway during April and May 2017, and the remainder took place in 2018.

Native woodlands deliver key ecosystem services including flood control, water and soil protection, biodiversity conservation and habitat linkage, and climate change mitigation. The forests will be created using appropriate principles to ensure that they demonstrate additionality, make a permanent land use change to sustainably managed forest cover and, wherever possible, be designed to protect biodiversity and habitats and deliver water benefits. Forest Carbon, is overseeing this element of the partnership to ensure its long-term quality and sustainable impact. Native tree species will be planted in each site, such as Pedunculate Oak, Downy Birch, Common Alder, and Scots Pine.

In May 2012 Microsoft made a commitment to become carbon neutral, as well as creating a fund for investment in carbon reduction activities. The Irish Forest Creation project is one of nearly 50 projects around the world that are supported by investments from the carbon fee funds.

Examples of the programme's individual projects can be found below, in addition to a dashboard showing totals from the whole programme.

Microsoft Dashboard


trees planted

tonnes CO2 capture

hectares of new woodland

new woodlands created

Microsoft at Ardacluckeen

The objective of the scheme is to establish a native woodland in what is a high amenity area. The site comprises two plots and sits less than 2 miles due south of Killorglin, in County Kerry, located in the South West of Ireland. The forest will be open for public use and the site will also provide a... Read more

Microsoft at Castletownshend

The objective of this project is to convert marginal and degraded grazing land into a new woodland that will capture CO2 and provide a high quality habitat for local flora and fauna. The proximity of the site to Castletownshend will also enable public access to the site. The project is the fruit of... Read more

Microsoft at Lyranes Upper

The new woodland at Lyranes Upper is part of the KerryLIFE programme - aimed at reducing diffuse pollution in watercourses and preventing negative impacts on freshwater pearl mussel populations. Read more