In January 2020, The Woodland League were approached by Sioned Jones and her legal team for assistance regards, valid information on State obligations towards, Sustainable Forest Management, Sustainability Principles, commitments to International environmental conventions, and the role of the citizen in protecting their environment, for Sioned’s defence.
This report was compiled for the court case, which involved the removal by Sioned, of 250 Sitka spruce trees and the replanting on the site with native broadleaves, which she proceeded to manage carefully. The site was densely planted by Coillte in 1995 with 100% Sitka spruce at 2,500 stems per hectare and is above and within one mile of her homestead. Sioned believed her actions were protecting the water, biodiversity, the local environment as well as her own and neighbour’s health and well being.
As the report highlights, this action is compatible with a Citizen’s right to a healthy environment as well as their duty to protect the environment in the face of a failure by the State or an agent of the State, in this case, Coillte, The Irish Forestry Board. Unfortunately the court refused to allow the report to be used as expert evidence, which would have involved Andrew St Ledger, of the the Woodland League expanding on the points during proceedings to support Sioned’s defence.
Natural regeneration of oak saplings in the area Sioned cleared of Sitka spruce, allowing the light in and space for the Jay to store acorns and forget them. Amazingly, the Jay can fit up to nine acorns in it’s gullet with one in the beak, manage to fly and bury them all for winter food. The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) studies reveal that a single Jay can store up to 5000 acorns Sioned has carefully protected these baby oaks from predators such as deer or hares.