Merging Culture and Forestry in Ireland

Researchers: Sofia Linden, Georgia Reid, Marissa Weileder

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We explored the relationship between cultural values and woodlands management in Ireland. Our analysis centralized around Heritage Trees, which epitomize how cultural values affect orientations toward trees/woodlands; the trees are valued and preserved as symbols of Irish heritage. “Delving into the symbolic realm,” suggests Judith Crews of the FAO, “can often help to explain the links between ancient value systems and modern practices.”

We used quantitative, qualitative and spatial resources to approach these questions. Our results give a descriptive and explanatory account of forestry policies and goals, locating heritage trees within the Irish landscape of (visible) woodlands and (invisible) values.

We interpret Heritage Trees as symbols in the Irish landscape, so it is through their symbology that we discern broader notions of cultural values and woodlands management in Ireland. Our spatial analysis of data suggests that Heritage Trees are most predominantly located within cities/towns and at the boundaries of proposed Natural Heritage Areas (protected nature reserves, by Irish law).

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