Shay Galon reports on the Stepping Stone Forests in the Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, allowing future generations to interact with the biodiversity that exists in a forest.
Stepping Stone forests are small densely planted forests of native Irish trees. The method of planting these small forests is inspired by the world-renowned botanist Professor Akira Miyawaki. The soil preparation and dense planting ensures that these forests grow and develop extremely quickly. The proposal is to create a forest within the grounds of almost every school in the Tallaght area.
Many of these are DEIS schools in areas of social and economic deprivation.
Stepping Stone forests consist of a variety of native Irish trees and shrubs and can be as small as 100sq meters. The soil preparation, dense planting, and extensive mulching means that these small forests grow very rapidly. Using bare root plants and shrubs is cheaper, easier and generates less waste (there are no pots to get rid of).
One aim is “to convert open parkland,” which John Kiberdy, creator of the project, coins as a “green desert”, to large areas filled with local greenery and plants to both battle the negative effects of global warming while also allowing schools to learn about biodiversity directly.
“Where suitable space and conditions exist, we will plant the forests in a horseshoe shape. The space within the horseshoe will give the school children access to the forest as well acting as an outdoor classroom.”