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About the Forestry Sector

About the Forestry Sector

Please give an overview of your sector?

In 2017, 3.4 million cubic metres of roundwood was harvested in the Republic of Ireland. 2.7 million cubic metres of this was supplied by Coillte, with the balance (0.6 million cubic metres) being provided by the private forest estate.

In recent years 6,000 to 6,500 of private land has been afforested and approximately 80km of forest road have been built.

Contribution to climate change by Irish forests absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is approaching 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, or about 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In terms of complying with Kyoto targets, the contribution from afforestation post-1990 is c. 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 5 year period to the end of 2012 saving the taxpayer €220 million over this period.

What is the size and scope of the sector?

Almost 11.5% of Ireland is under forest, supporting a vibrant and export-oriented forest products sector. The forest industry comprising, growing, harvesting and processing of forest products makes a significant and growing contribution to the Irish economy. Apart from climate change benefits, forests provide the largest outdoor area for recreational use. This has been valued at €97 million, which in turn generates €268 million in economic activities for communities in rural areas. Annual visitor numbers to Irish forests are in excess of 18 million.

What are the current issues affecting this sector?

Developing forestry and related industry in a manner that is in keeping with sustainable forest management and the protection of the environment.

A Convenient Truth from Forestry Commission on Vimeo.

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years

The roundwood (timber in trees) to come to market is forecast to increase from the 4 million cubic metres in 2016 to close to 8 million by 2035. This doubling of output is set to come, in the main, from privately-owned, grant-aided forests in the Republic of Ireland.

Also, there is significant potential for wood fuel to displace fossil fuel, particularly in the generation of heat in industrial, commercial, domestic and institutional markets. After wind energy, wood fuel is the largest contributor to renewable energy generation in Ireland.

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?

Almost 11.5% of Ireland is under forest, supporting a vibrant and export-oriented forest products sector. The forest industry comprising, growing, harvesting and processing of forest products makes a significant and growing contribution to the Irish economy. In 2017, 3.4 million cubic metres of roundwood was harvested in the Republic of Ireland. Apart from climate change benefits, forests provide the largest outdoor area for recreational use. This has been valued at €97 million, which in turn generates €268 million in economic activities for communities in rural areas. Annual visitor numbers to Irish forests are in excess of 18 million.

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?

The forestry sector employ across a wide range of talents from ecologists, archaeologists, accountants, engineers and foresters. Opportunities exist across the sector for both graduates and experienced staff.