The proposals for the future of Ireland’s forest strategy have been well received by industry, particularly the fact that funding has been secured to pay for them.
More changes could well be made here, but hopefully they will restore the confidence of landowners to plant for the future.
While many of the proposals focus on expanding the cultivation of native broadleaf trees, they also recognize the urgent need to plant more conifers and replace the use of concrete in the construction industry with a higher proportion of native timber.
In this context, two important changes are proposed. The first is the reinstatement of the 20-year premium for farmers who grow. Premium rates are also to be increased and these two measures should result in a resurgence of interest in planting conifers along with the required 20 pieces of deciduous trees for diversity and wildlife habitat.
Then there is the Regulation and Legislation section, which aims to make it quicker and easier for public and private landowners to get involved in creating sustainable forests. This could mean an end to the appalling delays in obtaining planting permits and felling licenses that have devastated targets in the past.
While premium rates are also set to increase, 20-year premiums for anyone growing deciduous trees are inadequate given the timeframe involved in waiting for a financial return from trees like oaks, but on a lighter note, CCF or Forestry with continuous coverage are also included in the proposed funding programs.
This is very welcome as more and more forest owners like me are now switching to this management system.
The document covers virtually every aspect of forest establishment and management and gives cause for optimism about the future of forestry in Ireland. Let’s hope that words will now be followed by deeds.
Joe Barry is a farmer and forester on the border between Meath and Kildare.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/joe-barry-new-forestry-proposals-can-restore-confidence-in-planting-42123926.html Joe Barry: New forestry proposals can restore confidence in planting