Protected habitat under threat from logging on Slieve Gullion

February 3, 2014

Incidences of widespread logging on Slieve Gullion has raised concern and anger among members of the local community who claim the practice is leading to the destruction of the natural habitat of endangered species, The Examiner has learned.

In a letter to this paper, a concerned resident said local people “are appalled” by what is happening in the protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), where large swathes of the mountain are being cleared of trees.  Although too late to undo what has already been done, the resident pledged the opposition of the community against trees being felled in a second designated site on the mountain.

Acknowledging that trees affected by disease must be destroyed, the resident claims no provision has been made to protect the habitat of the protected red squirrel.  Slieve Gullion is one of just a handful of areas in the country known to be home to the endangered species.

In the letter the author conveyed the concern of the community: “The communities in the Ring of Gullion and further afield watch in sorrow as Slieve Gullion is stripped of its trees.  They understand that the Larch is diseased and have to be removed, but it appears that no study was done and no provision made to save the habitat of our native and protected red squirrel.  In some areas nesting sites have been destroyed and the red squirrel in now left without shelter or food sources.”

The resident further claims that other protected species, such as the buzzard and pine marten are also at risk, while heavy machinery being used to fell the trees, has driven wildlife from their homes, a serious concern particularly in the current breeding season.

“Nature will find a way to regenerate, but re-planting will not take place for three years and those trees will take many years to reach maturity. It took more than fifty years for this forest to reach its present grandeur and several short weeks to turn it into a wasteland.”

The Examiner attempted to contact the Ring of Gullion AONB for clarification on the matter but did not receive a reply at time of going to press.