Rathcoole Woodlands is 11.2 ha pioneer Semi-Natural Woodland of predominantly willow and downy birch trees with 11,950 mature trees exceeding 4 m in height, and 73,190 immature trees with a height up to 4 m1.
It is a prime example of re-wilding and of natural succession in the development of Woodland from abandoned agricultural land. This is a rare phenomenon in South Dublin as most land is never left untouched for 30 years and more. And nationally, Native Woodlands occupy less than 2% of Irelands land mass (Cross and Collins, 2017). The declaration of a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in 2019 has put renewed focus on the importance of Native Woodlands as a response to both.
A recent survey of this deciduous Woodland revealed:
- 9,876.2 m² / 0.99 ha of Transitional woodland classified as WS1 Scrub/transitional woodland
- 36,595.5 m²/ 3.67 ha of Immature Woodland classified as WS2 Immature woodland with 73,190 trees whips i.e. trees less than 4 m tall with the potential to result in a conservative 9,661 mature trees in five to 10 years
- 36,625.9 m² / 3.66 ha of Maturing Woodland classified as WN6 of Wet willow alder-ash woodland with a conservative estimate of 9,687 mature trees
- 1.36 km or 0.7 ha of Hedgerow classified as WL1 Linear Woodland Scrub made up of a mixed hedge and a hawthorn hedge with a conservative estimate of 2,263 trees including Hazel (Corylus avellana) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
- 11,950 mature trees exceeding 4 m in height and 73,190 immature trees with a height up to 4 m
A predominantly willow and downy birch Woodland, other trees include Whitethorn (Crataegus monogyna), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Silver Willow, Mountain Ash or Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), the naturalised Elder tree, (Sambucus nigra) and a specimen of Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Oak (Quercus petraea), possible indicators of new trees to come.