Protect Knocksink Wood Co. Wicklow

Yes! Thanks to Pat and Diarmuid for sharing this important appeal.

We need your support!

Our unique Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve is under threat! Permission for a large scale development near this delicate biodiversity hotspot has recently been granted and there is concern by environmental experts and local residents that irreparable damage will be caused.

We are appealing this permission granted by An Bord Pleanála and we need to raise €50,000 to cover legal costs, €25,000 of this needs to be raised by 𝟏𝐬𝐭 𝐃𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫!!! So we urgently need your help! Please consider donating via our GoFundMe and help us protect the special habitat!

Why is Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve so special?

It’s not just the beauty that makes Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve unique, the site was awarded Special Area of Conservation status, SAC, from the EU in 2019. Knocksink is exceptional in that it has 3 qualifying interests and two of them are rare habitats of high ecological value throughout the EU. These include unique petrifying springs with tufa formation, which are lime-rich water sources that deposit tufa, a porous calcareous rock. They constitute a highly specialised habitat with distinctive flora and fragile biodiversity.
Their vulnerability are recognised by their designation as a priority habitat in Annex I of the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Member states are obliged to monitor and report on the conservation status of such annexed habitats.

These springs in combination with Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve have two other interests – Sessile Oaks and Alluvial forests (forests that can grow in and thrive in flood zones and are also designated priority status due to their vulnerability), make Knocksink Woods Nature Reserve unique in the amount of biodiversity it supports.

If this development goes ahead, the key dangers are –

Any alteration to the intricate groundwater systems that feed the petrifying springs which are very sensitive to any disturbances in the land will result in loss, as the development lies just above their ‘zone of contribution’. The tufa spring habitat is a dynamic one and most likely be significantly impacted by any reduction in water supply. The Alluvial Forests are also water dependent.
It will make Knocksink extremely vulnerable to habitat and biodiversity loss from the pressures caused by increased human activities, such as people using undesignated pathways from the new housing development into Knocksink, and littering.
It could lead to the introduction of invasive species through fly tipping of garden waste from the housing development which will upset the delicate balance of the woods unique biodiversity.
Any development will be highly dependent on sustainable drainage systems and numerous soakaways to avoid contaminants entering the complex hydrological pathways that support the community of springs near the nature reserve. The soakaway design is not suitable and the maintenance regime required by residents and the local authority cannot be delivered.
What’s being done by the community

To date our community have given huge support to opposing the numerous development applications that impact Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve. Since 2019, five planning applications have been made for the zoned development site close to Knocksink. The community have dug deep both in time and funding to inform the An Bord Pleanála and Wicklow County Council with expert reports, using science and facts to explain why the development is inappropriate.

Now, as a community and the custodians of this precious and fragile Nature Reserve, we are called to action once more. Following a packed public meeting, we are embarking on a huge information and funding campaign in order to raise the needed legal fees to fight for Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve via a Judicial Review in the high court.

We need to raise €50,000 to cover legal costs, €25,000 of this needs to be raised by 𝟏𝐬𝐭 𝐃𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫

How you can help.
Please donate to our GoFundMe or direct to our legal fund.
Fred Logue Client A/C: IBAN: IE32 AIBK 9310 1273 1321 20
BIC: AIBKIE2D Reference 3025

To keep up to date with our campaign, you can follow us on Instagram and join us on Facebook

General Enquiries to Tina Roche 0868598196; Press Enq.: Caroline Leonard 868319058 & Anita Tuesley 0863753756; Donation Enqs.: Paula Cantillon 0866681269

P.S. Don’t forget to forward this email to someone you know. We need to spread our alarm, concern and collective desire for action!

Copyright © 2022 Friends of Knocksink, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Friends of Knocksink
c/o Willow Cottage
Cloon, Enniskerry
Wicklow, Co. Wicklow A98 XY17

#planting is important…#protecting our existing canopy even more so! #prevention #generationrestoration

Our restoration project in detail

Hi all; I am filling out a questionnaire for the world trillion tree project, you may be interested in our answers!

The Project began with a response in the primary school where I was teaching to Felix Finkbeiner’s challenge for the children in every country of the world to plant a million trees to combat global warming. As leader of the Eco Schools (Green Flag) initiative in that school we had carried out planting within of our school grounds before 2016 of 200 native saplings in a native hedgerow, with a stand of trees and with a school orchard and had no more space left on school grounds. We received permission to plant from the local authority in an adjacent park and this is how our Easy Treesie project started. We ran our first Plant-for-the-Planet Tree Academy in January 2017 with a joint UK – Irish team when we planted our first 300-tree mini-woodland. We soon organised all the local schools to plant at this same location with their communities and this year 7,500 trees are planted at this park and in neighbouring schools and community gardens as well as some private gardens. This is one tree for every resident of this Dublin suburb. We ran our second Academy in 2019 and by then we had not only started planting with further-away schools in our County but had arranged planting in 8 counties around Ireland at similar sites with schools and their communities.Since maintenance consists of manual removal or trampling of weeds without herbicide use then natural regeneration is a feature of our woodlands once land is designated for planting of saplings.

This is our category; deciduous temperate forests; Temperate-boreal forests and woodlands biome T.2.2

Since many of our projects are in urban areas, mini- woodland is a more accurate name than forests for our projects. Currently there is a national block on planting over 1 ha of trees without a license and licensing typically takes 1 – 2.5 years to obtain. For this reason we confine our planting to 1 ha at this point as our upper limit, a limit only increased this year in April 2022 from .1 of a ha which meant we were unable to plant more than 300 trees at a time without leaving a substantial gap between this and the next planting site, i.e. roughly 300-sapling lots.

Tree planting with no intention to harvest is our approach.

What are the project goals and objectives?

Promote and deliver key educational resources addressing aspects of the UN Sustainable
Development Goals of which Ireland is a signatory as they relate to tree planting, supporting andhighlighting the environmental benefits of woodlands. This is being achieved through planting trees with Irish school children and their communities with the goal of planting 1 million trees by 2024/25. Critical to this is the engagement of local key volunteers and leaders, supporting and highlighting the benefits of woodlands, focusing on farmers, community engagement and general wellness, in collaboration withour partners.
Our goal is the planting of a million trees with Ireland’s million school children and their communities. The aim of registered charity Crann Trees for Ireland is to support the planting, promoting, protecting and increasing awareness about trees and woodlands. The Easy Treesie Project supports these aims and has as its objective planting one million trees with Ireland’s one million school children. To November 2022 the Project has distributed over 340,000 trees to schools and their communities throughout Ireland since 2016.
The Easy Treesie Project has continued its engagement with the world Trillion-Tree campaign and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration through our running of Plant-for-the-Planet children’s climate conferences, both face-to-face and virtual.
We focus on planting on public lands or with farming co-operative groups and community organisations/schools spreading “ownership” of our newly-established woodlands across a variety of stakeholders and endowing each community with a sense of stewardship for their own local woodlands.

Our Key Metrics are trees planted and communities engaged; The counter now stands at over 340,000 saplings planted nationally to date by our
project and its partners with over 330 communities engaged. Additionally we have continued to source finances through public, private and commercial sponsorships
to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the project towards its goal of 1 million trees planted.

Could there be negative consequences to the ecosystem as a result of the planting project (for instance disruption of the water table)?

We are carrying out a study with Trinity College Dublin monitoring 3 of our Dublin sites and there has been no indication of negative consequences to the ecosystem as a result of our planting projects at these sites.

What type of vegetation was in the area before the project started? (if not yet started, what are the current conditions)

Area with only grass / or bare land

While our parks projects typically are sites with only grass or bare land, we like where possible to site our planting adjacent to existing stands of trees/hedgerows/woodlands if possible to encourage natural regeneration and provide for nature corridors

Why is tree planting necessary in this area instead of allowing for natural regeneration?

Our sites are typically in areas which have been sterile in some cases for thousands of years and we would risk domination by invasive species or monoculture by relying on merely fencing off such areas. Because of the cost of fencing which is not viable for our typically very small projects, planting an area of saplings means that the area is subsequently set aside for nature where the grass is allowed to grow, there is a no-mow and no-herbicide zone which allows for elements of natural regeneration. Ireland’s tree canopy is lowest in Europe jointly with Malta at 11.5% , a percentage which has not increased in recent years and in fact may have decreased. We have only 1.5% cover of native woodland so the issue of natural regeneration is a complex one as compared to countries with a more typical European canopy cover.

Please name the species (scientific name), approximate planted % of each one and if they are native or non-native

Common Birch (Betula Pendula) 10% Native
Silver Birch (Betula Pubescans) 10% Native
Pedunculate Oak (Quercus Robur) 10% Native
Rowan (Sorbus Aucuparia) 10% Native
Hazel (Corylus Avellana) 10% Native
Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) 10% Native
White Thorn (Crataegus) 10% Native
Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) 10 % Native
Cherry (Prunus Avium) 10 % Native
Less than 10% of trees planted in this project are non-native and comprise a mixture of species such as
Beech (Fagus)
Red Alder (Alnus Rubra)
Italian Alder (Alnus Cordata)
Red Oak (Quercus Rubra)

Very small numbers of root ball and potted trees are planted as part of our project, typically for ceremonies. In 2022 these included Yew (Taxus Baccata) and Lime (Tilia Cordata)

Where do you get your seeds from? Please specify if the project is collecting or buying seeds. If the project is collecting seeds, briefly explain the method to do it.

Seed collection is managed at nursery level; we do not purchase seed, we work typically with bare-root stock grown in Ireland and always are delivered with a plant passport. Much but not all of the seed is Irish, the saplings are usually grown in Ireland. Because Ireland has only 28 native tree varieties, 2 of which (Elm – Ulnus and Common Ash – Fraxinus excelisor ) have disease status which does not permit their inclusion in planting projects and other species which will thrive only in particular locations e.g. Strawberry Tree – Arbutus Unedo is typically only widespread naturally in the Southern half of the country then our natives list is very short. Because our tree stock of natives arrived on the island typically on a narrow landbridge their genetic similarity is very close and leaves them very susceptible to disease.

If you face challenges with invasive species, please explain them and how do you manage them?

Yes. We engage with the local communities for removal of same, e.g. laurel where the local authority team managed its removal prior to an underplanting project at a location with a mature canopy.

Do you agree to be visited and reviewed by Plant-for-the-Planet and its experts ?

You would be more than welcome. Our projects are quite dispersed, our oldest ones being in Dublin City parks. Many of our projects are in collaboration with other groups some on school grounds for example for which permission would have to be sought in advance for a visit but this would not be a difficulty unless perhaps during school holiday time where caretaking staff may be less available than usual. We would very much welcome the benefit of your expertise.

Do you harvest or plan to harvest trees or tree parts at any time?*

Thinning may be necessary after 15 years to properly manage growth.

If there’s any animal/human threat to the project please specify how are you managing it.

If you don’t face threats or have no need to protect project area, please specify it.

We have experienced several incidents of inadvertent mowing by contractors hired by local authorities to small areas of planting, despite the councils’ awareness of projects in place. We generally mark saplings at establishment to pre-empt this outcome. Where rabbits, hares or deer are present guards are used if necessary.

Do you face any issue/conflict related to land tenure?

No though permission to plant on local authority land is challenging to obtain. As we have a housing crisis there is a fear that parkland/public lands may be required for future building projects. Our planning issues nationally have made it impossible for us to plant currently at scale.

Social Aspects; Explain if the community is involved in the project, how and effects on the community.

Typically very positive. Covid-19 restrictions were among the most severe in Ireland in the world and our project allowed communities to “come together while staying apart” in an outdoor exercise improving their environment at a time where people were for long spells confined to a 2 km or 5 km radius of their homes. We have won numerous national awards among them the 2022 Tidy Towns National Tree Award with local commendation Awards for a smaller project, a Pride of Place award and a variety of other national and local Awards which has a very positive effect on community morale.

Have you had any conflict with the local community? Explain it and how you addressed it. 

Very seldom; in some instances a green area is preferred to trees by some communities. We address this with ongoing education on the benefits of trees over monoculture grass and work with national and local bodies to educate for biodiversity.

What are your restrictions on resources? There are all kinds of restrictions. The planning one is the greatest obstacle to our work. Resources are very limited currently, the Parks Departments are typically very under-staffed and resourced during this time. Our project has to work continually to seek out grants and donations to fund our work.

In case of running out of funding/ shutting down what will happen with the project and the sites (describe briefly)?

Managed by local authorities relevant departments, usually Parks and Operations Our charity has been existence since the 1980s and we are experiencing a growing interest in supporting tree planting in Ireland so we expect this project to run its course without significant new obstacles.

We have commitments to the provision of the remaining saplings in our 1 million quota so this 5-year project is envisaged to be completed on time and on budget. After that we would like to expand the project.

Here is a copy of the great questionnaire;


  2. What is the name of the project?
  1. When was the project started?
  1. Where is the project located? 
  1. Describe your restoration project in detail 
  1. Please provide the composition of the tree price (USD or Euros)
  • Price to acquire/grow saplings per tree:
  • Price to prepare the site per tree: 
  • Price to put in the ground per tree: 
  • Price to maintain per tree: 
  • Overall price per tree: 
  1. What type of habitat are you working in?

☐Tropical-subtropical forests biome:

☐Lowland rainforests

☐Dry forests and thickets 

☐Montane rainforests 

☐Tropical heath forests 

☐Temperate-boreal forests and woodlands biome: 

☐High montane forests and woodlands 

☐Deciduous temperate forests 

☐Oceanic cool temperate rainforests 

☐Warm temperate laurophyll forests 

☐Temperate pyric humid forests

☐Temperate pyric sclerophyll forests and woodlands

☐Palustrine wetlands biome

☐Tropical flooded forests and peat forests

☐Subtropical/temperate forested wetlands

☐ Permanent marshes

☐Seasonal floodplain marshes 

☐Shrublands and shrubby woodlands biome

☐Seasonally dry tropical shrublands

☐Seasonally dry temperate heath and shrublands

☐Cool temperate heathlands

☐Young rocky pavements, lava flows and screes

☐Savannas and grasslands biome

☐Trophic savannas

☐Pyric tussock savannas

☐Hummock savannas

☐Temperate woodlands

☐Temperate subhumid grasslands

☐Deserts and semi-deserts biome 

☐Semi-desert steppe

☐Succulent or thorny deserts and semi-deserts

☐Sclerophyll hot deserts and semi-deserts

☐Cool deserts and semi-deserts

☐Hyper-arid deserts

☐ Tropical alpine grasslands and herbfields

☐Intertidal forests and shrublands (mangroves)

☐ Urban and industrial ecosystems

☐Other (specify)


  1. Select your type of project and approach 

☐tree planting (no intention to harvest)

☐natural regeneration 

☐mixed (assisted natural regeneration)




☐forest garden


☐plantation forestry 

☐other (specify) 


  1. Please describe the project goals and objectives in detail 
  1. Please explain how are you working to improve the local context? Is the project contributing to any regional conservation goals? 
  1. Could there be any negative consequences to the ecosystem as a result of the planting project (for instance disruption of the water table)?
    1. What type of vegetation was in the area before the project started? (if not yet started, what are the current conditions)  

☐grass / nothing

☐some small vegetation / shrubs/ some trees (less than 30% of terrain)

☐area with young vegetation (less than 15 years). Indicate type of vegetation

☐native vegetation

☐invasive vegetation

☐old/mature vegetation (more than 15 years). Indicate type of vegetation

☐native vegetation

☐invasive vegetation

  1. Why is tree planting necessary in this area instead of allowing for natural regeneration? 
  1. How many species do you plant / have you planted in the most recent planting season?
  1. Please name the species (scientific name), approximate % of each one and if they are native or non-native
Tree species (scientific name)Approximate percentage planted (%) of total treesNative /    non-                      native
  1. Where do you get your seeds from? Please specify if the project is collecting or buying seeds. If the project is collecting seeds, briefly explain the method to do it. 
    1. How do you clear/prepare the site for planting? (select all that apply)

☐controlled fires 


☐cutting shrubs and/or trees


☐no clearing

☐other (specify)


  1. What do you remove while clearing? 



☐small trees (<10cm dbh). Indicate type of trees. 

☐native species

☐non-native species 

☐invasive species 

☐trees (> 10cm dbh). Indicate type of trees

☐native species

☐non-native species 

☐invasive species


  1. Please briefly describe the method of clearing/preparation of the site :
  1. On average, how many species/tree types are you planting per ha?
  1. How old are trees when planted? (select one)

☐less than one month

☐2-3 months 

☐3-6 months 

☐6 months – 1 year

☐1 – 2 years

☐> 2 years

  1. Please explain how do you maintain the trees after planting and for how long? If there is no maintenance, specify
  1. If you face challenges with invasive species, please explain them and how do you manage them?
  1. If any tree will be fully harvested/cut off, please specify:
  • Species to be harvested: 
  • After how long will they be harvested: 
  • % of total trees to be harvested: 
  • Reasons to harvest:  
  1. If any tree part will be harvested (fruits, leaves, bark, etc), please specify: 
  • Species to be harvested: 
  • Reason to harvest: 
    1. How long are planted trees/land tenure secure?  
  1. If there’s any animal/human threat to the project please specify how are you managing it. 
  1. Do you face any issue/conflict related to land tenure?
    1. Explain if the community is involved in the project, how and effects on the community:
  1. Have you had any conflict with the local community? Explain it and how you adressed it.  
  1. Is there any restriction made to areas or ressources to the community? Please explain  
    1. How many people are involved in the project? Please indicate the number of men and women.   
  • Locals/close communities- defined as people that can travel daily from their homes to work:
  • Other regions of the country: 
  • Externals :
  1.  Is local community involved in project design and decision making? 
    1. Please explain the main funding sources of the project 
  1. In case of running out of funding/shutting down what will happen with the project and the sites (describe briefly)? 

Getting things done with Lists, starting with the World Shopping List!

“To Leave No One Behind We Must All Lead”, I learn in UN Bonn

I’ve been asking around – not everyone knows that we’ve 17 global goals. And I didn’t remember till I joined the Plant-for-the-Planet guide at UN Bonn last month that we’ve 190 sub -global -goals. It’s a challenge to remember the 17. But hey, it’s also a challenge to remember all the things we have to do for even a small thing like getting ready for my walking club coming over tonight and the shopping for that small gathering. So I am going to check the fridge now to see what I need for later today and make a list.

Lists are not as scary as no lists I find.

In fact, I got my great friend Myra the other day to make me a big sign for my fridge; “Where is your list? When a job is done, cross it off!”. I’ve added to the giant sign, written on the back of let me just check what it was…yes, it’s wrapping paper from a roll that one of my children bought – I use old newspaper or recyclable bags myself – and it’s a shade too tatty to use on a gift so now it is serving this important reminder purpose. It is even tatty at the back. Myra may visit later, I might ask her to right it nicely on a nice li’l bit of white cardboard I’ve been saving from a packet of tights! I added to Myra’s question one she mentioned her father, the late great near-grandfather to our children, used to say; “What things have been hanging around a long time? Pick one”, I’m trying this. And here I am down a rabbit hole doing this post, not on any list. How? Well I bought a new book for lists, I have them in every size now and I find small is best so I’m lining up my 2023 diary bought in Eason’s yesterday with their cheap and cheerful notebooks and I’m stashing them neatly in my ancient Filofax Mark 11. It’s small and black leather and succeeded my one I took around for years until I decided it was a ton weight.

Thanks to all the friends who help us get things done!

Those sub-goals.

I’ve been looking online this morning for a list of those sub-goals. Not easy to find in fact. Wikipedia has them I see. Here is the list, it makes great reading. Ambitious? Yes. Isn’t that what we expect…even in a shopping list.

Now here is an exciting report;

There’s a global plan to increase forest cover by 3 per cent. Will Ireland achieve that? Our lowest-almost-anywhere status would make 3 per cent a bit of a cop-out in my view, do you agree? A return of 7 euro for every 1, we would all like that in these days of cash losing value, right?

“UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for more forest financing, and incorporating forest conservation and restoration in COVID-19 recovery. She that healthy forests and ecosystems are “ready-to-go solutions for green recovery at scale.” She reported that for every USD 1 spent on forests, almost USD 7 are generated in further economic benefits, and every job in forests generates an additional 1.5-2.5 jobs in the wider economy. “

Humanity; breakdown or breakthrough? What can we do? Telling everyone about those global goals is what we were asked to do in Bonn. Every individual can contribute. Cycling campaigns, putting up a “We are part of sustainable Bonn” sticker …our hostel in Bonn had one of those. It had switched to an all-organic kitchen to gain the sticker and the food we had all week – all vegetarian – was first rate. I’m going to put the list on my fridge now of those global goals I brought home from Bonn. And I am going to read through all those sub-lists. To summarise them? Love God or you can call it love Mother Earth or Nature, why not, and love your neighbour as yourself I guess; have you a better list-summary? If I forget my shopping list or lose my to-do list it sums up the same way usually. For my visitors tonight it’s about loving nature…we’ll go as sustainable as poss. for the menu…and delighting my friends with a nice walk (we are a walking club after all) and a lovely environment…lights, music and action.