Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 13 November 2018

'Negativity around forestry needs to stop if we want to reach climate targets'- Department

Farm organisations have recently opposed the level of planting in the northwest of the country
Farm organisations have recently opposed the level of planting in the northwest of the country
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Negative commentary on forestry needs to come to an end if we want to reach climate targets, Secretary General at the Department of Agriculture Brendan Gleeson has said.

Mr Gleeson told members of the Oireachtais Committee on Climate Action today that planting of forests will play a significant part in reducing emissions and reaching 2030 climate targets.

He said that the negative debate around forestry has to come to an end in order to promote the planting of trees and encourage carbon sequestration.

“Forestry is a critical part of this discussion. We need to be planting trees now to provide mitigation for the 2030 onward period. I’m concerned around about the negative narrative around forestry that it might make it more difficult to reach targets, it’s important to encourage planting of trees,” he said.

“It’s very.very important we don’t have eternally negative narrative around afforestation.”

He said while the Department has received criticism for the over-planting of sitka spruce trees in some areas, he pointed out that there is now an obligation for new forest plans to include at least 15pc broadleaves and that greater grants are available for broad leaf planting.

“There is a significant commentary on sitka spruce being planted. We are sensitive to the need of stock of trees. There is a need to stock trees that provide income for farmers, that  re manageable and renewable and can be harvested in a renewable way,” he said.

Farm organisations have recently opposed the level of planting in the northwest of the country, with both the IFA and INHFA calling for a moratorium on planting in counties such as Leitrim.

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“We need to get the right trees, in the right place, for the right reason and with the right management,” said Mary Rooney, regional chair of Leitrim-West Cavan INHFA.

“INHFA want an immediate ban on the planting and replanting of monoculture, conifers and their replacement with mixed broadleaf  forestry.

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