August 18, 2020

Rising challenges facing the commercial forestry industry in Ireland

Ireland Forestry Management Plans

The challenges facing the forestry industry have raised the requirement for more environmental and ecology professionals in Ireland.

Environmental mismanagement in the commercial forestry industry in Ireland has led to a rising challenge in the forestry sector and could result in a significant number of trees being destroyed.

Findings reported to the Irish Times indicate that in excess of one million saplings will have to be removed this week due to a number of issues within the forestry industry that have extended for several years now.

Issues of mismanagement, along with government targets not being met has resulted in many farmers refusing to plant trees, which means that many trees grown by specialist businesses in Ireland are likely to be destroyed or in some circumstances, exported elsewhere.

Back in 2018, a European Court of Justice case resulted in the EU reviewing licensing arrangements managed by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture. The findings indicated that more ecology professionals were required in Ireland to meet the number of challenges facing the forestry industry.

According to findings from the Irish Times, approximately 11% of Ireland’s land is now forested and while the Government has created a target of 18% coverage by 2050, the targets are not being met. Based on these figures, 15,000 new hectares of forest is required every year but the latest statistics suggest that approximately 8,000 new hectares are being planted.

Due to recent court rulings in the EU, this year is likely to be considerably lower, standing in the region of 2,500 hectares and industry members have stressed that urgent political action is necessary to enable further planting to go ahead at the end of this year. The Irish forestry replanting business None So Hardy has stated that their business alone has the potential to provide the Government with nearly 90% of their targets, but the resulting mismanagement in the Department of Agriculture is creating risks for their business. 

The business has stated that exporting saplings to Scotland has reduced the risk slightly but they have clearly indicated that their business isn’t focused on growing trees for exporting. The business, along with other forestry groups have declared this as a serious emergency that requires significant attention from the government of Ireland.