WATCH: Restoring Northern Ireland woodlands at Cultra

Jenny Lee
Kausalya Gibson, TCV Tree Nursery leader at Cultra

With Northern Ireland facing a major threat to its native tree species, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) at the Ulster Folk Museum at Cultra have welcomed funding to enable them to grow a targeted 50,000 to 77,000 native trees at its Tree Nursery.

Northern Ireland’s  tree cover, is currently just eight per cent, making it one of the lowest in Europe.


The TCV charity believes that tree nurseries are crucial to restoring our woodlands. The designated areas allow young trees to be cultivated and grown whilst protected from weather, animals and other vegetation, helping to increase their survival chance until they’re mature enough to be moved into local woodland.

TCV has recently joined forces with Hughes Insurance to increase the native trees at its Tree Nursery at the Ulster Folk Museum. The funding will support TCV to invest in seed collection and increase its tree cover, which will enhance biodiversity by providing food and shelter for small birds and mammals, including the much-loved red squirrel. 

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Kausalya Gibson, TCV Tree Nursery Leader said: “We’re facing a huge threat to our native tree species. Northern Ireland’s tree cover currently sits at just 8 per cent, one of the lowest in Europe -  it’s an alarming statistic.

“Preserving and restoring our woodland is vital for the health of our environment. For example, the mighty oak species which is native to this region supports over 2300 species of insect, fungi, birds, and small mammals. 320 of which are only found on oak and a further 229 rarely found elsewhere.

Emma Haughian, Senior Marketing Manager at Hughes Insurance and Dianne Keys, Operations Leader at TCV Northern Ireland


“The funding will also enhance our community engagement programme and enable our staff to connect and engage with communities through the planting of native trees and the eventual environmental benefits that this work enables.”

The funding is part of its Action for Impact initiative – a £100,000 commitment to various charities and organisations to deliver on its Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) agenda in 2023 and beyond.