'Planting land in forestry is almost seen as a failure in Ireland'
A stigma among farmers that planting their land with forestry is a failure that must be addressed, according to Minister for State with responsibility for forestry Andrew Doyle.
His comments come as the states national afforestation programme lags significantly behind in its target to plant 10,000ha of forestry per year.
In a debate in the Dail this week, Doyle said the 'fear factor' must be eliminated for landowners so that they can look at options for their land and assess its value.
“Then they can consider whether, for example, if they plant one variety, it will yield them an income that they can use to enhance the rest of the land.
“We need a change in the mindset.
“Parts of Europe have an average of 30pc. Someone who is a forestry owner or owns land for forestry is called a farmer over there.
“It is almost a signal of failure here, and that is something we must address, although I do not suggest that can be changed overnight,” he said.
Minister Doyle said the Department is involved in a detailed mid-term review of that forestry programme and is engaging with stakeholders in its development.