1,000 signatures reached
To: Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Protect Toon Valley Woodland
Approve Toon Wood as a Natural Heritage Area (NHAs).
Why is this important?
In a 2008 native woodland survey conducted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Toon Woods, a patchwork mosaic of various woodland types, was deemed to be the highest scoring unprotected site in the country.
Yet large swathes of these woods were destroyed under a felling license that has now been revoked. The Dept of Agriculture issued a replanting order in March 2019.
Toon Woods contain one of Ireland's strongest surviving colonies of red squirrels, a much-loved protected species who lost their shelter and their winter stores in the felling.
This sessile oak woodland, ecologically an extension of the Gearagh, is well-known to sustain other protected species. A nationally important lesser horseshoe bat maternity roost exists only a few hundred metres from the destroyed area, while the pristine Toon river provides habitat for freshwater pearl mussels, a red-listed species.
One ecologist who visited the site noted the absence of infrastructure to prevent soil run-off into the Toon river, threatening the freshwater mussel which cannot tolerate silt, as well as the nearby Gearagh, a Natural 2000 site and Special Area of Conservation, into which the Toon flows.
Minister for Culture and Heritage has the power to confer full NHA status on the Toon woods, as was proposed by then Chief Scientist Dr John Cross in 2013, following a survey commissioned by NPWS.
Climate change poses a major threat to our future well-being and the protection of our oak woodlands is essential if we are to create natural buffers to save our endangered native species. They account for less than 2% of our forests. We can do so much better.
Most of Toon woods are still intact but they are in urgent need of your intervention.