Ireland's forest cover is estimated to be at its highest level in over 350 years
Ireland’s forest cover is estimated to be at its highest level in over 350 years, according to the Department of Agriculture’s 2017 forest statistics report.
The area of forest is estimated to be 731,650 ha or 10.5pc of the total land area of Ireland.
Over one quarter of the forest estate contains broadleaves.
The Government has ambitious plans to increase afforestation in Ireland. However, last year it missed its target of planting over 7,000ha by over 20pc.
Meanwhile in some parts of the country there has been severe criticism of the Governments approach to forestry.
In Leitrim, county councillors have unanimously agreed to amend their County Development Plan in a bid to curb the level of afforestation in the county.
Anti-forestry Campaigners say local farmers who wanted to expand their holdings can not compete with investors buying up land for afforestation who were attracted by the tax free status of forestry.
According to the Department statistics, farmers accounted for 83pc of private lands afforested between 1980 and 2016.