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Independent.ie

Sunday 16 December 2018

European Investment Bank backs first project to encourage Continuous Cover Forestry in Ireland

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

New investment in sustainable forestry across Ireland will be supported by the latest operation under the Natural Capital Financing Facility.

The facility launched by the European Investment Bank three years ago is a €400m initiative intended to better protect Europe’s natural capital.

Irish commercial forests are amongst the most productive in the world and a new scheme will enable global institutional investors to support a more sustainable forestry model.

The European Investment Bank will to work with SLM Silva Fund to improve sustainable practices in Irish forests.

"The new €12.5m investment builds on the EIB’s recent support for forestry and agriculture in the country and will demonstrate how best practice in Ireland’s world-class forestry industry can take better account of the need to safeguard biodiversity, soils and landscapes, and help resist the threats associated with climate change,” said  Andrew McDowell, Vice President of the European Investment Bank responsible for Ireland.

The SLM Silva Fund will work with commercial forest schemes across Ireland to encourage Continuous Cover Forestry.

This provides an alternative to the predominant clear felling model that leaves bare hillsides and focuses on a narrow range of tree species, reducing habitat value and ecosystem health.

Continuous Cover Forestry also enables productive forests which are more resilient to pests and diseases, as well as avoiding the negative impacts on soil and water resources of conventional practices.

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“Agriculture and forestry play a key role as custodians of natural capital and the agri-food sector is an essential and integral part of any solution to ultimately deliver natural capital imperatives for rural areas and society as a whole. This new forestry investment in Ireland, with participation of the EU’s LIFE Programme and the European Investment Bank, shows how conservation considerations can be combined with commercial activity,” said Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

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