LIFE05 NAT/IRL/000182

Woodland Restoration in Ireland

Scots Pine

Holly at Site 2. Attyslany


Restoring Priority Woodland Habitats in Ireland

Woodland Locations:

Alluvial woodland (Site 4)

SAC Name
River Barrow and River Nore
95.2 hectares
Lat: 52° 51" 6.479'   Long: -7° 24" 46.74'
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The alluvial woodland site at Durrrow, Co. Laois is accessed via the R434 road, a few Km. from the village. Durrow is the second largest site in the project. It consists of wet woodland on the floodplain of the Erkina River, tributary to the River Nore. The site flanks the north and south river banks and the entire area is liable to annual flooding. This project site is considered one of the largest areas of alluvial woodland in Ireland. Records show that the alluvial woodland here at Durrow is very old.

Planting of non-native conifers on the site in the past resulted in a patchy establishment due to the high water table. There are significantly large areas where these exotic conifers have fared poorly and the native alluvial woodland is re-establishing. There has also been some planting, and natural colonisation, of exotic broadleaved trees including grey alder (Alnus incana), Italian alder (A. cordata), sycamore (Acer psuedoplatanus), horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and lime (Tilia spp.) although these now appear to exist primarily as scattered individuals.

The restoration techniques will concentrate mainly on the removal of the non-native trees and further enhancement of biodiversity of the alluvial woodland through the increase of deadwood. This will encourage the flora and fauna of the alluvial woodland habitat. A healthy natural regeneration of native plant and tree species is widespread on the site.

The native vegetation of the site is dominated by ash (Fraxinus excelsior), alder (Alnus glutinosa), and willows (Salix spp.), along with birch (Betula pubescens and Betula pendula), wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and hazel (Corylus avellana). There is also a rich shrub community, including the rare purging buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus), and a diverse field layer dominated by moisture loving species. The area to the south of the river is enriched by calcareous springs and the vegetation has a fen character whilst to the north of the river it is more acidic and consequently less species rich.

There is a complex network of drainage channels running through the site, some of which appear to be overgrown, and there also exist small natural streams running off the higher ground surrounding the site. In order to reinstate natural water regimes restoration techniques will be carried out which will involve the strategic installation of dams. The work by Coillte will assist the recovery of the alluvial woodland through the slowing down of water release during flooding. The restoration of the woodland will also enhance the habitat of the river.

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Contact Us

PR/Administrator: Breda Lyons
Phone: + 353 (0)56 7753362

Project Manager: Sean Quealy
Mobile: + 353 (0)86 2854054

Coillte acknowledges the funding received from the EU LIFE-Nature programme

Visit a LIFE woodland near you!

LIFE05 Project Coillte Teoranta, Riverview House, Carlow Road, Kilkenny, Ireland

Coillte, registered in Ireland 138108