Replanting Ireland: Parliamentary debate and expert literature on Irish state forestry 1922 to 1939
Embargo End Date:2023-08-14
Citation:Duff Garvey, Margaret, Replanting Ireland: Parliamentary debate and expert literature on Irish state forestry 1922 to 1939, Trinity College Dublin. School of Histories & Humanities, 2020
Thesis Margaret Duff Garvey #11266513 .pdf (PhD Thesis) 6.847Mb
This research is focused on forest-related discourse in the Irish Parliament and in expert literature around the time of the foundation of the Irish state in 1922. In contrast to most European Countries, but in tandem with the British Isles, Ireland committed its twentieth century tree planting program to North American conifer plantation development, recorded in Irish state forest histories. In the field of environmental history, this research queries the origins and assumptions of this successful program that has dominated Irish state forestry over the twentieth century, excluding native woodland development and public input. It addresses the challenges of locating and analysing sources that record views other than those of the institution. The research is based on analysis of forest-related parliamentary debates and questions using an innovative approach with the assistance of text coding MaxQDA software. The complexity of participants perceptions on trees, woods and their uses, on forest administrations, on the public, the state and on future forests is reflected in the extensive topics of interest identified in the analyses. These results guided the review of expert literature to illuminate topics less well recorded in the historiography of the period, such as trees and woods in the landscape, the traditional uses of woods and timber, inherited institutional legacies, the heritage of woods, and industrial wood opportunities, as well as conifer tree planting schemes and forest-related employment. The findings record a more complex course of Irish forestry history in Ireland, revealed as a matter of political authority of certain forestry practices rather than best practice or national imperatives. It identified a wealth of experience and concern about future forests amongst participants that included public representatives, Ministers, expert landowners and foresters during the 1920s and 30s. The research shows the significance of inherited deforested landscapes, and their effect on all participants. This environmental catastrophe influenced the 1919 First Dáil Arbor Day objective of state-sponsored re-afforestation for nation-building and for timber for local industries and industrial manufacturers, in contrast to the focused military goal of British state forestry for softwood timber production for mines and construction. Arbor Day objectives inspired subsequent unsuccessful representation in the Irish parliament and in government during this time. The research suggests that the dominant institutional view of the superiority of non-native conifer plantation approach to state forestry was favoured by the consequences of war and civil disturbance in Ireland, the critical socio-economic conditions, and government dependency on its former British experts. Although this research does not address the latter half of the twentieth century, the findings imply that these dominant perceptions continued to influence state forestry during this time. The neglect of native woodland development by the state was compounded by the absence of an agreed national forestry policy which led to national amnesia in the twentieth century around woodlands in Ireland and their heritage. In reconsidering different values and assumptions around future state forests, the research approach provides a more inclusive contextual narrative of the foundations of Irish state forestry which can contribute to the present-day discourse on the future of state forestry at this time of rapidly changing climate.
Author: Duff Garvey, Margaret
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Histories & Humanities. Discipline of History
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available
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Thomas, D. E. L. (Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, 1962)It was stated in 1960 that forestry policy in Northern Ireland is governed by three major factors: ?Firstly, there is the compelling need, which two world wars have so painfully demonstrated, to reverse the centuries-old ...
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