Back Where They Once Belonged? Local Response to Afforestation in County Kerry, Ireland

M. Carroll
A. Ni Dhubhain
Courtney G. Flint


Afforestation has many benefits at the local regional and global scale. The local social impacts of planting new forests, however, depend on a variety of contextual factors and other details including who is doing the planting, which species are being planted, the location of the planting and, perhaps most importantly, existing land uses and their linkage to social and economic circumstances. This article presents case study research into these issues in two places in County Kerry Ireland. Utilising the concept of the differentiated landscape, we examine the somewhat varying social responses to afforestation in the two study sites in light of the different environmental and social and economic circumstances in the two adjacent areas. We conclude that a more locally nuanced approach to forest planting than has been common in the past could well create greater social acceptance of future afforestation and benefits accruing from it.