Andrew Doyle T.D has announced the publication of the annual Forest Statistics Report for 2019 by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Speaking of the report, he said: “It is the definitive compendium of up-to-date information on forestry in Ireland and is the go-to reference document for anybody interested in the subject.”
The Minister also mentioned that afforestation in 2018 was 27%, up from 21% in the previous year as a direct result of the measures they introduced in the mid-term Review of the National Forestry Programme.Key statistics;
- The national forest estate is 11% of the total land area. Forest cover is estimated to be at its highest level in over 350 years at 770,000 hectares,
- During 2018, 4,025ha of new forests were created. Farmers have accounted for 82% of private lands afforested between 1980 and 2018,
- An estimated 12,000 people are employed in the forest and wood products sector.
- In 2018, €95 million was spent by DAFM on forest activities including afforestation, maintenance grants, annual premium payments and grants for forest road infrastructure. Since 1980, over 22,000 private landowners have received grant aid to establish forests. The average size of private grant-aided afforestation since 1980 is 8.7 ha.
- Over half (50.8%) of forests are in public ownership, with the remainder in private ownership
- The national forest estate is an important carbon reservoir, amounting to 312 million tonnes of carbon.
- Nationally, conifer species are the dominant species present, representing 71.2% of forest area while broadleaved species accounted for 28.7%. The proportion of broadleaves in new forests created during 2018 was 27%, up from 21% in the previous year.
- The most recent annual figures estimate that 3.22 million m3 of Roundwood was available for processing (excluding firewood), with 676,000m³ coming from privately owned forests.
- The construction of 74km of private forest roads was funded during 2018. This reflects the projected increase in timber and wood to be harvested which is expected to double by 2030.
The most recent figures estimate that there are nearly 30 million visits to Irish forests each year, and values forest recreation at €179 million per annum.
“The information in this annual report has multiple applications for policy makers, NGOs, Community groups and industry alike,” said Minister Doyle.
He added that this progress will yield dividends in a number of ways, including the rural economy and Ireland’s efforts to tackle climate change.