The €2.2bn forestry sector is in danger of not having enough timber to keep it going if current planting rates continue.
This was the conclusion of the Irish Forestry and Forest Products Association's (IFFPA) annual review which showed that planting rates dropped by 20pc last year compared with 2010. Despite Government targets to increase forest cover from 10.6pc in 2011 to 17pc by 2030, just 6,653ha were planted in 2011. The IFFPA claims that if this continues, the timber processing industry will be forced to import raw material.
The sector, which employs almost 12,000, now exports more than three quarters of its output following the collapse of demand in the domestic construction sector.