Hometree x Ecofuel. Ecological Partners.

Hometree x Ecofuel. Ecological Partners.

Apr 19, 2024Marc Eglon

We joined 1% for the Planet as a way to contribute to ecological projects in Ireland. And now, we’ve partnered with Hometree on their ambitious project to restore 4,000 acres of Ireland’s native rainforests. One acre at a time.

Hometree’s Wild Atlantic Rainforest Project is based in the Maam Valley, focusing on the Cnocán Bán site, which presents a complex ecological landscape predominantly characterised by peatlands and grasslands.

But why restore forests? and why Hometree?

We keep coming back to this, but it’s incredibly sad that Ireland, which had 80% forest coverage at the time of the last ice age, has now lost almost all of those native ecosystems, save for a few small pockets around the country.

We’ve all but lost our deep connection with woodlands and trees and the wildlife that they support. As children, we experienced the forest through fairytales and then grew up to learn that they’d become little more than folklore.

But, as our recent field trip to Latvia’s Gauja National Park reminded us, the forest isn’t a nostalgic reminder of a past. We see a rich future for woodlands, too.

Which is why we chose to work with Hometree.

Restoring 4,000 acres of rainforest takes ambition, focus and commitment - traits that have already been honed and proven in earlier projects. It also takes the support of the whole community - landowners, ecologists, funding agencies, and commercial support from conscientious businesses.

The rainforest project was launched in early 2023 and has already had great success in reaching the wider public, gaining support from businesses supporting acres and affiliates that have supported Hometree in buying individual sites. An ecological assessment is complete on two of the sites and will begin implementation at the end of 2024.

Hometree is at the start of something big here, the most ambitious woodland creation project by a charity in Ireland.

Starting small.

The way to accomplish anything important is to start small and keep going.

We’re adopting 2 acres before our business year ends in summer, and hopefully a little more each year. As we grow, the forest grows and our contributions compound year after year.

In 5 years, we can expect early signs of woodland regeneration, with a focus on establishing native species and controlling herbivores to allow young trees to thrive. By 10 years, emerging woodlands, particularly oak, should become more prominent, standing up to 10 feet tall in lowland areas, with natural regeneration in the uplands. After 15 years, the landscape will increasingly resemble its natural state, with a rich tapestry of oceanic woodland habitats, enhanced biodiversity, and restored peatlands, heath, and species-rich grasslands.

What does this partnership mean to Hometree?

“In the absence of a couple of trillion Euros, the biodiversity crisis needs to be addressed by NGOs, SMEs, local businesses and a volunteer network. By doing it this way we engage all of the stakeholders and we actively build up our connection with nature and learn how to protect it. 

“Without partnerships like this we do not reach the amount of people we need to across the different sectors. It's important that we stay connected to our partners, see it as a true partnership that reflects shared ambition. A partnership like this for me represents one of the best places in business! Private business owners exceeding the status quo in a shared commitment to landscape restoration of scale”

— Matt Smith, Hometree founder. 

What does this partnership mean to Ecofuel?

Janis & Marc from Ecofuel, with Matt from Hometree

It’s not an obligation but an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of those who inspire us, like Yvon Chouinard, who founded Patagonia and 1% for the Planet. We get to pick up the torch and carry it ourselves.

Of course, as a company that operates closely with forestry, we’re acutely aware that Ecofuel can play an outsized role. We are directly responsible for sourcing our products sustainably and to help reduce air pollution.

But we can also help restore our long-lost native habitats.

Hometree is an inspiring and capable collective - the perfect partner to work with to turn ambitious dreams into reality.

This is just the beginning. 

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