Thousands of native trees - including 1,800 saplings of the almost lost Burren pine - have been distributed to Co Clare landowners in the latest phase of a new biodiversity initiative.

'The Hare's Corner' project aims to help farmers and landowners 'make a little more space' for nature by creating pocket-sized habitats on their land.

Inspired by an old farming expression for an awkward section of a field which was not intensively farmed and so was 'left to nature’, 'The Hare's Corner' is co-ordinated by the Burrenbeo Trust, a local landscape charity.

Burrenbeo's Pranjali Bhave said: "The Hare’s Corner is designed to be a simple, hassle-free way to support our farmers and landowners in responding to the climate and biodiversity crisis we find ourselves in. If you are not part of the solution, you are the problem."

The project is targeting the creation of 32 ponds, 43 mini-orchards and 38 mini-woodlands in its first year.

The mini-woodlands feature native Irish pine, which once dominated the Burren landscape, but was thought to be extinct for over 1,500 years.

The miniature woodlands will include saplings of native Irish pine

Remarkably, scientists from Trinity College Dublin discovered a small population of it growing at a remote location in the Burren in 2016.

Seeds were collected under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, nurtured and grown in individual pots for planting out.

Pranjali said: "It’s the stuff of fairy tales because how often do you find something so positive? We have daily reports of species extinction and here is a chance to actually save the native pine that has nearly gone extinct. It is the only known population of it, and it is our responsibility to try to protect it."

The Burrenbeo Trust team assembled the mini woodlands in the Burren which feature native pine and six companion species

The Burrenbeo Trust has had interest from landowners outside of Co Clare to take part in The Hare’s Corner.

"The Hare’s Corner is accessible and achievable and realistic," Pranjali said. "There is a tendency to complicate things and that acts as a barrier for action; people won’t act if it seems overwhelming or too difficult."

Pranjali, who is originally from India, says it has been "a huge privilege" to work on projects in the Burren.

"I am an immigrant and I think it's a very human thing to look for a connection to a place. I am so happy to have found a way to belong to the landscape and do something positive for it," she said.


In our 'Climate Heroes' series of reports, we shine a light the people who are stepping up to protect our environment and tackle climate change. While these people come from all walks of life, they share a common purpose to improve the world around us.