The Cork Environmental forum hosted François-Xavier Drouet’s insightful documentary, Le Tempts Des Forêts, as part of the Cork French Film Festival on 7 March 2019 in the Gate Cinema cork. Over 200 people were in attendance.

Sisters Marie Treacy, Mary Usifoh and Majella McCarron were present to watch the film which looked at how big companies, through industrialisation have reduced diverse forestry  by plantations of single species of trees. The types of species that are planted are determined by market drivers, size, quality and seed of growth.  

In the case of a plantation of Douglas Fir, the fir needles covering the ground, in the absence of other tree species lead to the degradation of the soil.  

The consequences of this over forestry leads the soil to become barren, so that replanting rather than regeneration have replaced the diverse forests across France.

The film was followed by a short panel discussion. The situation in Leitrim where the land is being ‘taken over’ by plantations of Sitka Pine was briefly mentioned. In a recent article in the Farming Independent, Sinn Féin MEP Matt McCarthy is quoted as saying “As more and more farmers are forced off their land, and peatland and animal nesting grounds are transforming into fast-growing sitka plantations, communities are being sidelined.” Sr Majella McCarron closely follows the Save Leitrim community website and is acutely aware of the negative impact of the Sitka Spruce blanket forestations on the local population   

Future Forests kindly donated saplings of Alder and Birch hoping to inspire the audience to plant more native trees. Each of the sisters collected a gift of a sapling on leaving the cinema and they will be planted on the grounds at Ardfoyle.