Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 16 December 2018

Coillte announces new ‘BioClass’ system to protect biodiversity in Irish forests

The Wicklow Mountains
The Wicklow Mountains
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry and land solutions company, has launched a new classification system that will allow for integrated planning and management of key biodiversity sites across Coillte’s 440,000-hectare estate.

The ‘BioClass’ system has been designed to categorise key areas of ecological value, from very high to moderate. The tool will enable Coillte to ensure its biodiversity areas are properly managed and resourced.

“Over the past 29 years, Coillte has been the custodian of some of the most diverse and important biodiversity sites in Ireland, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Chief Executive Fergal Leamy said at Coilte’s Biodiversity Seminar held recently.

“We want to facilitate the next steps in the development of our approach to support Ireland’s biodiversity,” he said.

Coillte Ecologist, Dr Aileen O’Sullivan, who led the design of the BioClass system, explained the significance of the system.

“We developed ‘BioClass’ because we needed a tool that enables us to flag important sites, prioritise resources and integrate biodiversity into forest management planning,” said Aileen.

The system categorises biodiversity areas into four BioClasses, starting at BioClass 1 for forests and other habitats of outstanding value, and ending at BioClass 4 including forests and other habitats currently of moderate ecological value.

Coillte manages approximately 7pc of the country’s land and 47pc of Ireland’s forests.

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