The state should buy more land for forestry and rewilding, said Micheál Martin, chairman of Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil.
When asked about Coillte’s decision to join forces with an investment fund to acquire new and existing forest land worth €200 million, he said he believed he had the country subject to state aid rules in relation to forestry want state property.
“Farmers are also individual private operators,” he said. “We want farmers to do most of the afforestation, so we have to be careful with the use of the terms ‘private’ and ‘public’. There must be no sell-off of state forests or anything like that.
“I think the state itself should also be more actively involved in buying land. That will create tensions over pricing and other such issues, but we need to buy land for native forests and for easy regrowth basically because the biodiversity challenge is so critical.
“We’re not in the race for the biodiversity challenge yet,” he said.
The Tánaiste said he is very passionate about the biodiversity agenda and has asked agencies to buy land for rewilding and native forests.
“We also need commercial forestry. The construction industry needs to develop more carbon-efficient mechanisms to build homes in the future. Timber frame construction in this country is pitifully low compared to Scotland, for example,” he said.
“The real problem for us is getting away from the low level we are at right now. Significant progress was made in the 1980s and 1990s but has stalled more recently.”
Commenting on the Coillte deal in recent weeks, the IFA said the main opposition to forestry in recent years had been driven by foreign investors who came in and bought land for forestry. This would “distort the land market” and make it harder for local farmers, especially young farmers, to compete.
“Given the already strong demand in the agricultural land market and limited supply, the new Irish Strategic Forestry Fund is likely to further intensify competition for land, which will result in more farmers being forced out of the market and unable to to expand operations into the future. prove their business.”
The property market in Ireland had a record year in 2022, a recent one Independent Farming Land price survey found. It was fueled by a combination of the milk boom, a strong non-agricultural interest in land, and strong performances in other agricultural sectors.
The year saw a 30 percent increase in farmland volume auctioned, a 48 percent increase in the amount of money generated and a 13.5 percent increase in the average price per acre.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/micheal-martin-it-will-create-tensions-but-state-should-buy-more-land-for-forestry-and-rewilding-42309237.html Micheál Martin: “It will create tensions”, but the state should buy more land for forestry and renaturation