"When asked to imagine Ireland’s landscape, citizens and visitors alike will allude to rolling green hills, impressive cliffs, and quaint cottages. However, this tourist-board image of a pristine and untouched countryside masks a historical reality: Ireland’s land has been shaped and manipulated by humans for thousands of years. Moreover, the decreasing number of native woodlands and the rise of forestry plantations offer striking evidence of the historic decline of the nation’s natural resources. After the supplanting of a vast network of native woodlands with a smaller-scale monoculture crop of nonnative conifers, today’s deforested expansive fields and large pastures offer a relatively new feature in the country’s landscape history. Scholarly work on the history of Irish woodlands, which has focused on the period between the end of Tudor rule in 1603 and the nineteenth century, typically concludes with a rhetorical question: what will the island become with the continuation of the conifer plantations?1 Investigations in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries reveal that further cultivation of nonnative conifer plantations will not only disastrously harm Ireland’s ecology but also undermine a familiar image of the countryside."
J. Ruby Harris-Gavin (2020) Ireland's Forest Fallacy. Éire-Ireland 55 (3&4): 150-172.