Speaking at the opening of the Irish Forestry, Woodland & Bio Energy Show 2017 at Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois today, Andrew Doyle, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, commented that “Since the first event in 2011, the Show has become one of major events on the calendar for anyone involved or interested in becoming involved in the forestry and bio-energy sectors”.
He also noted that “The list of exhibitors and the wide range of exhibits definitely illustrate the many aspects of forestry and bio-energy, with certain aspects of the Show, such as bio energy and heating, forestry management and ‘added-value’ forestry products, being expanded this year.”
The Minister of State outlined, in his speech, the increase in afforestation in Ireland since the 1980s, resulting in some 19,000 private forest owners and added that “Forestry in Ireland is now entering a new phase in its development, where many of these owners are beginning to realise the commercial benefits of their forestry investment”.
In this context, he continued that “There are a number of measures being undertaken or supported by my Department to assist forest owners including the availability of the Forest Roads scheme, the forest certification initiative and the development of Knowledge Transfer Groups for forestry.”
Minister of State also launched a publication in relation to continuous cover forestry (‘CCF’), stating “My Department has been supporting research in relation to CCF under COFORD’s Low Impact Silvicultural Systems project and also in the translation from French into English of “Guidelines on Continuous Cover Forestry” which I am delighted to be launching here today”.
He noted that this system delivers improved biodiversity value through greater habitat diversity as a result of creating an uneven age forest structure and that ‘From an economic perspective, CCF provides continuity of income from thinnings as opposed to the large lump sum at clearfell stage. Furthermore, as reforestation is not required, the cost of replanting is also avoided”.
He also took the opportunity to encourage landowners to examine forestry as an option within their current farming enterprises referring to the availability of information at the Show and thanked the Show Director, Mr. David Wilkinson, the hosts, the exhibitors and the staff for organising the many exhibits and displays.