Forestry Reports

Forestry Council Report February 2024

  1. Market Review  
  • The CSO published Forestry Scheme Payments 2022, which showed that: 
  • Main afforestation programme payments were €61.4 million in 2022, a decrease of 1.4% when compared with 2021. 
  • Main afforestation programme payments were 43% lower in 2022 compared with payments of €108.2 million recorded in 2010. 
  • Forest roads payments declined from €4.2 million in 2011 to €2.8 million in 2022. 
  • Forest roads payments covered 70 kilometres of forest roads in 2022. 

For more information on the spending, click here.  

Figure 1: Main Afforestation Programme Payments 2010 to 2022  

  • The Forestry Weekly Dashboard showed that as of the end of January 2024, 38 afforestation licences, 67 forest road, 107 private felling and 94 Coillte felling licences issued (see Figure 1).  For more information click here.  

Figure 2. Forest Licence Dashboard (Week 4 January 2024) 

  • As of the end of January 2024, 21 hectares of new forest established and paid to 1st grant stage and 5km’s of new forest road constructed (see Figure 2).   

  Figure 3. Review of licences issued versus planted/constructed (Week 4 January 2024).  

  • The CSO published Wood and Paper Exports and Imports 2022 report, it showed that;  
  • Exports of wood and paper products were valued at €1.2 billion in 2022 compared with a value of €2.7 billion for imports of wood and paper products in 2022. 
  • Exports of Veneer Sheets and Wood-based Panels were valued at €389 million in 2022 which represented 32% of the total value of exports of wood and paper products. Exports of Secondary Paper Products at €236 million accounted for a further 19% in 2022 while exports of Coniferous Sawnwood in 2022 were €229 million 

Figure 4: Imports of Coniferous Industrial Roundwood and Coniferous Sawnwood 1995 to 2022 

  1. Activity since last National Council  
  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) published the Forestry Licencing Plan 2024 in December. The Plan estimates that the Department will issue 4,200 new licences in 2024, and confirms there is capacity to issue sufficient licences to meet its annual target of 8,000 hectares. To review the plan, click here.  
  • The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) launched a public consultation on the Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan. The closing date for submissions has been extended to Tuesday, 20th February. For more information click here. The latest report on the status of breeding Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) in Ireland has just been published in the National Parks & Wildlife Service’s Irish Wildlife Manual Series, click here to view. The key findings are:  
  • The national hen harrier population has declined by one third since 2015, to an estimated maximum of 106 breeding pairs (i.e. 85 confirmed, 21 possible).  
  • Its breeding range has contracted by 27% for the same period.  A review of data for those sites covered in each of the past five national surveys (i.e. 1998/00 to 2022) indicates a 59% long-term decline for those sites.  
  • The magnitude of declines observed for the subset of sites surveyed across all five national surveys would likely prompt the Red-listing of hen harrier on the Birds of Conservation Concern of Ireland. 
  • IFA made presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture Food and Marine (JOCAFM) on the threat posed by Spruce Bark Beetles, specifically the great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans) and eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). A copy of the Opening Statement is enclosed.  
  • IFA issued statement calling for a temporary suspension of the importation of spruce logs from Pest Free Area (PFA) until a taskforce was established to undertake a full review of the biosecurity measures in place.  
  • Following on from appearance with JOCAFM IFA was invited by John Murray Managing Director with Murray’s sawmills to discuss biosecurity measures undertaken by sawmills and opportunities to work together to alleviate farmers concerns.   
  • At JOC DAFM committed to publishing new Export Settlement Agreement with Scotland that will improve biosecurity measures and to establish a Forest Health Network.  
  • IFA attended the final meeting of the Irish Group Forest Certification Scheme Working Group in Portlaoise on 8th November. The Working Group was established to input into the development of a Management Manual and a Business Plan. The final report from this working group is expected imminently.  
  • Minister Hackett invited IFA to join the Forest Strategy Consultative Committee (FSCC). The purpose of the FSCC will be to: 
  • Act as a consultative group to make contributions to the development and implementation of the Forest Strategy in Ireland. 
  • Receive updates on the implementation of objectives and deliverables for the Forestry 
  • Programme 2023-2027. 
  • Provide feedback and help to orientate the communications and stakeholder engagement work of the DAFM Implementation team. 
  • IFA published a briefing note on the Native Tree Area Scheme that allows a farmer to plant small areas of native trees on farms without a licence (see enclosed). The scheme allows a farmer to establish a maximum of 2 hectares per holding under two interventions; NTA 1 creation of small native forest and NTA 2 creation of native forests for water protection. 
  • IFA has made be in contact with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) to seek the introduction of a financial support package for farmers to manage roadside ash trees, that are infected by ash dieback disease.  
  • IFA propose that the support package should be administered by the Local Authorities, who would be responsible for coordinating the safe removal of the trees by providing grants to support farmers to hire relevant professionals to safely fell these trees.  
  • Securing funding for farmers affected will be a key ask in the IFA’s Local Election Manifesto.  
  • Forestry One to One Clinics 2024 organised by Teagasc are running nationally from 22nd January to the 13th February. For more details click here.  
  • Forest Carbon Tool has been relaunched incorporating most recent carbon emission factors associated with afforested peatlands. The tool gives indicative carbon sequestration trends, for more information click here.  
  • ForestMoocForChange is offering free online course providing an introduction to continuous cover forestry, covering the various aspects of this forestry approach over an 8-week period. To register for the online course, which is starting on the Monday, 19th February 2024, click here.  
  • IFA attended the Forest Industry Transport Group meeting on 25th January to discuss (i) draft Good Practice Guide for Managing Timber Transport 2024 and (ii) start process to review role of the group.  
  • The IFA Farm Forestry committee met on the 7th December in the Farm Centre. Paul Sauvage, Assistant Secretary and Barry Delaney, Director of Forestry with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine attended the meeting. 
  1. Any EU/COPA developments 
  • IFA attended an online EU stakeholder platform on forest and forestry meeting on the 11th December.  
  • The Commission is proposing a Forest Monitoring Law that will plug existing gaps in the information on European forests and create a comprehensive forest knowledge base, to allow Member States, forest owners and forest managers to improve their response to growing pressures on forests and strengthen forest resilience. 
  1. Upcoming issues 
  • IFA Farm Forestry Committee will meet on Wednesday, 7th February.  
  • To maintain pressure on Department Agriculture, Food and Marine to publish implementation plan and new scheme to support farmers with ash dieback. 
  • The establishment of a Spruce Bark Beetle Taskforce.  
  • The introduction of supports to safely remove diseased trees from the public road network.  

Related Articles