Forestry can still offer strong source of profit in spite of rising pressures
One of the most far-reaching, and damaging ideas in the Government's proposed Forestry Programme 2014-2020 is the reduction in the forest premium period from 20 to just 12 years.
While the stated aim is to encourage landowners to plant in order to achieve 18pc forest cover by 2046, this measure sends out a signal to many that forestry is not an attractive option.
And when the rising costs of insurance, fuel and other inputs, - as well as the growing importance of certification in order to access the markets - are considered, existing owners and potential new entrants may question the long term profitability of forestry.
But despite the cost pressures and policy problems, forestry remains a potentially very profitable business and timber lots from well-managed woodland will always be readily saleable.
There are large areas of land, especially the surface-water gleys found predominantly in the western half of the country, that are more productive in trees than any other crop.
The costs and returns quoted in Table 1 are a guide only. These figures fluctuate and can vary from one property to the next so must be read in that context.
Insurance premiums have risen considerably in recent years, mostly because of rising claims, especially for forest fires.