Forestry Reports

Forestry Council Report December 2020

Market Review 

IFA Timber Market Price Survey Q3 (July to September)

All prices (ex VAT) quoted roadside for conifers.

Product TypeLength DiameterPrice € /tonne
 (m) (cm) (Roadside) 
Pulp3 m< 7cm 26-34
Stakewood1.6 m > 8cm  < 15 cm 34 – 43
Palletwood2.5 m> 14 cm 38 – 44
 3.1 m  65-75
 3.4 m  65-75
 3.7 m  65-75
Sawlog4.9m > 20cm  75 – 100
 5.5 m  
  • DAFM Department’s Forestry Licence Dashboard for 20th November: 

Activity since last National Council

  • IFA presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on the challenges facing the Forestry Sector, licencing Issues and ash dieback. IFA sought support from the committee to reform of the current licencing system. A copy of the full presentation is available here. 
  • IFA met with Minister McConalogue and Hackett to outline farmers frustrations with delays processing licences and sought immediate action on the 6 emergency measures:
    • The system must ensure that no farmer has to wait longer than 4 months for a forestry licence as set out in the Forestry Act 2014 Section 18(1), irrespective of the application size.
    • Forest road and felling/thinning licence applications that are in the system for more than this period (four months) should be automatically approved under an amnesty provision. 
    • Amend the Forestry Act 2014 to introduce new exemptions for activities, such as forest road construction and thinning operations, that do not present a significant landscape change and present a low risk from an environmental perspective.
    • Review the current appropriate assessment (AA) screening process, associated rules and thresholds. In particular, introduce a threshold, that forests less than 15 hectares, should be exempt from the AA screening requirement. Only forests over 15 hectares would be screened to determine if they need to submit a Natura Impact Statement (NIS), while forests over 50 hectares must submit a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as is currently the situation.
    • A cost-based planning support grant should be introduced, as referenced in the Mackinnon report, to assist with increased costs and requirements associated with applying for a felling and afforestation licence. 
    • The appointment of an external Project Manager within the Department to implement the operational changes recommended in the Mackinnon report to develop an appropriate and effective licensing system.

It was agreed to hold a follow up meeting in three weeks to check progress on actions.  

  • IFA issued press releases on the forest licence crisis including call for an amnesty, emergency provision to be sought from the Commission as well as a reform of the licence system.   
  • IFA meet twice with Forestry Industry Ireland on the current crisis in the sector to identify common ground on changes required to the licence system. Work is ongoing to develop policy position. 
  • An internal meeting was held to discuss start process to renew the IFA/ESB compensation agreement. 
  • IFA issued a press release to highlight risk to the health of the national forest estate due to timber shortages; a result of the forest licence crisis and the importation of logs from countries infected with bark beetle. 
  • IFA attended COFORD Council and Wood Mobilisation Ecosystem Services Working Group, the focus of the meetings has been the current crisis in the sector and the shortage of timber for the sawmilling sector.  

Any EU/COPA developments

  • IFA attended the COPA Forestry & Cork Working Group meeting where the discussions focussed on the EU Forest Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy and Renewable Energy Directive (RED). 
    • The attention of the EU Forest Strategy must be on the bioeconomy, flexible eco-system schemes, adaption to climate change including silvicultural management, such as thinnings, and green jobs in rural areas.
    • The multi-functionality of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) must central to forestry strategy and the rest of objectives to follow. 
    • It was agreed that an economic impact assessment of the Biodiversity Strategy on the EU Forest Strategy need to be undertaken by the Commission. 
  • IFA have circulated a questionnaire on Forest Harvesting Regulation in MS to the members of the WG. The objective is to understand the regulatory process that forest owners must adhere to in order to harvest their forests and compare this to the licence system that operates in Ireland.  It is hoped that this information will inform our discussion with Government and provide guidance on how to reform the forest licence system. 

Upcoming issues

  • Intensify campaign to increase awareness of the issues in the forest licence system to adopt IFA’s proposals to ensure the prompt issuing of forestry licences. 

Vincent Nally – Chair

Geraldine O’Sullivan – Executive

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