Leitrim’s real tragedy


Sir, – Michael Harding’s comment (Life, March 28th) that “Leitrim’s real tragedy is more about trees than water” shows an amazing lack of understanding of the importance of commercial forestry to many people in the country.

Coniferous forests are ideally suited to the otherwise poorly productive wet soils of much of Leitrim. Those who have their own land planted, or who sell it to forestry investors, receive a valuable financial yield from these poor soils. It is fine to talk of leafy hardwoods, “the oak or the apple”.

These of course, have their merits, but they don’t put bread and butter and the other essentials of life on the table.

And as for the recreational and aesthetic contribution, take a look at Smaland, in southern Sweden. There was hardly a tree to be seen, in this now heavily forested region, before the middle of the 19th century.

Coniferous afforestation was, at first, strenuously opposed by the local population, but today, it provides a treasured aesthetic and recreational resource, the basis of a highly profitable forest industry providing valuable employment in the region. – Yours, etc,


Foxrock, Dublin 18.