CEO from April 2020: Joe Gowran MSc.BLUP 

Joe has a background in practical woodland management focussed on semi-natural woodland, creating new native woodland and the conservation of related habitats such as hedges and scrub. His early training began in Leitrim with Crann/FÁS in 1987, followed by 11 years with Ashling Woodland Development Co-operative Society Ltd /AWD Ltd, doing a mix of Broadleaf afforestation, Woodland Improvement in the private sector and contract work for Coillte Teo. and NPWS. Joe also worked with colleagues in Muintir na Coille/ Coppice Association on conferences, training initiatives and a variety of woodland craft projects from 1995 to 2018. He has been involved with Woodlands of Ireland in various capacities almost continuously since its inception in 1998 and carried out a number of the earliest contracts in both the  Native Woodland Conservation and Afforestation Schemes from 2001.

Due to the Corona Virus constraints, Joe is currently working from home and preparing new offices at Ballinafad Field Study Centre, Co.Sligo.


Project Manager to December 2019: Dr Declan Little

As Project Manager, Dr Declan Little, was employed in August 1998 to co-ordinate activities leading towards the attainment of the objectives outlined. Declan had previously spent more than a decade working in native woodlands, primarily in a research capacity. From 1989 – 1998 he studied native woodland soils, land-use history and ecology in the Forest Ecosystem Research Group, and in the Zoology section of the Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin.

After leaving Woodlands of Ireland to join the People’s Millennium Forests project in December 1999, Declan was succeeded by Mr John O’Reilly who maintained the momentum generated during the initial period. John subsequently departed the project in November 2001 and Declan was again appointed as Project Manager in February 2002.

In 2003, Ms Cara Doyle became Project Manager and oversaw the organisation of the Native Woodland Conference which was held in Galway in September 2004.

Subsequent to a years teaching in Forest Management at GMIT, Galway, Declan was re-appointed as Project Manager of Woodlands of Ireland in September, 2004 and has held that until late 2019.

Woodlands of Ireland - Board of Management 

  • Declan Cooke, Inland Fisheries Ireland 
  • Dr Marina Levitina, Native Woodland Owner
  • Maria Cullen, Mycologist
  • Margaret Heavey, Solicitor (Environmental Law)
  • Diarmuid Lyng
  • Paddy Purser, PTR Ltd, Native Woodland Scheme approved Forester
  • Bob Wemyss, Native Woodland Owner (Finanancial expertise)

NB: Trustees represent themselves as individuals as opposed to the organisation(s) they are affiliated to.

Woodlands of Ireland - Technical Advisory Panel Members*

  • WoI Project Manager (Acting Secretary)
  • Kevin Collins, Forest Service 
  • Dr John Cross, Woodland Specialist
  • Richard Nairn, Ecological consultant and Native Woodland Owner
  • Joe Gowran, Woodland Contractor & Hedge Laying Association of Ireland
  • Richard Schaible, Northern Ireland Forest Service and Native Woodland Development Group
  • Dr John O’Halloran, Bird expertise, Department of Zoology, NUI Cork
  • Dr Jenni Roche, Woodland Ecologist, NPWS
  • Katherine Duff, Ecologist, Forest Service
  • Ken Sweeney, Coillte Teo., Continuous Cover Specialist
  • Ted Horgan, Forester (ex Coillte), Hardwoods research
  • Dr Aileen O Sullivan, Ecologist, Coillte
  • Derek Felton, Tree seed collection, Woodstock Seeds
  • Dr Philip Blackstock, Forestry consultant
  • Dr Craig Bullock, Ecosystem Services/Natural Capital research, UCD
  • Paddy Woodworth, Envoronmental Journalist
  • Professor Emeritus Ted Farrell, Environmental research
  • Dr Ruth Carden, Deer research
  • Michael Doyle, Forestry Consultant with Broadleaf expertise (ex Coillte)
  • Jonathan Spazzi, Continuous Cover Forestry specialist, Teagasc
  • Dr Catherine Farrell, Ecologist
  • Dr Daniel Kelly, Academic with Woodland specialisation & research (ex Trinity College Dublin)
  • Philip O'Dea, Research & Development, Coillte
  • Jerry Hawe, Native Woodland Forester
  • David Brickenden, Woodland Contractor & Owner
  • Eugene Curran, Forest Inspector, Forest Service
  • Dr Michael Gormally, The Applied Ecology Unit, NUI Galway
  • Dr Fraser Mitchell, Woodland Palynology research, Botany Department, Trinity College Dublin
  • Chris Barron, Killarney National Park Education Centre, Invasive Species Management specialist
  • Richard O'Callaghan, Freshwater Pearl Mussel consultant, Kerry Life Project
  • Howard Fox, Lichenologist, National Botanic Gardens
  • Larry Behan, Native Tree and Shrub Nursery Stock Producer, None-so-Hardy Nurseries,
  • Donall Flanagan, Nursery Stock Adviser, Teagasc
  • Neil Foulkes, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland
  • Paul Murphy, Consultant Ecologist
  • Dr Shawn McCourt, Hedgerow specialist
  • Dr Janice Fuller, Ecologist & Woodland surveys
  • Eoin Donnelly, Coppice Association of Ireland
  • Dr Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington, Botanist/Academic, (ex NUI Galway)
  • Ciaran Nugent, Forest Inspector, Deer Management expertise, Forest Service
  • Tim Burkitt, Deer Management expertise (ex NPWS)
  • Seppi Hona, Forest Inspector, Deer Management expertise, Forest Service
* Members of the Technical Advisory Panel with expertise specific to particular topics are asked by the Project Manager /CEO to join expert committees /sub groups to address tasks as they arise, i.e. native woodland information notes, hedgerow surveying, silvicultural guidelines, training course development, etc.