Scots Pine is Irish Through and Through
Botanists from Trinity College Dublin have re-written Ireland’s natural history books by discovering that Scots pine trees are in fact native to the country, and that they have been thriving in County Clare for thousands of years. The tree is important in providing habitat for many of Ireland’s native flora and fauna.Scots pine was one of the first trees to colonise Ireland after the ice sheets of the last glaciation finally melted, some 12,000 years ago. Despite its initial abundance it gradually declined to disappear from most parts of the country about 4,000 years ago. This widespread former abundance of pine is clearly evident from the pine stumps often exposed through turf cutting.
Scots pine lingered on in a few locations for a further 2,000 years but was presumed to have disappeared completely until it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 17th century through planting. The local extinction of pine in Ireland was replicated in England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.
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