The Irish Timber Growers' Association (ITGA) will, with support from the Forest Service, host the Education and Conference Centre at Birr Castle.
This feature will provide talks, seminars and information on subjects relating to forestry, woodlands and bioenergy, and all are free of charge and open to everyone attending the show.
The following are the displays and presentations that will be available over the two days.
Forests, wildlife and biodiversity
PLANFORBIO Forest Biodiversity Research Programme (Planning and Management Tools for Biodiversity) is run by a team of botanists and zoologists from TCD and UCC, who are working with Coillte to explore the biodiversity of Irish forests in this nationwide research project. The display will outline their findings and highlight the contribution of our forests to Irish wildlife and biodiversity.
Irish Squirrel and Pine Marten Project
Emma Sheehy, from the Mammal Ecology Group, NUI Galway, will show and discuss translocation as a conservation tool for the red squirrel, following on from the success of the recent pilot project in the west of Ireland.
Translocation is the movement of live animals from one area, with free release in another, with the aim of establishing a viable, free-ranging population in the wild. Evidence that grey squirrel numbers have declined considerably in some midland counties will also be discussed, and the popular -- though unconfirmed -- theory that the pine marten may be responsible for controlling invasive squirrel species.
Recreation and Forests
Forest Recreation makes an important contribution not only to the health and well being of the nation but also to economic activity in rural communities where forests are an important tourism resource. Coillte estimates that the value of recreation to users is more than €97m a year and that forests generate more than €270m of economic activity annually through tourism in local communities. The recreation display by Coillte will focus on these benefits and explore how they are being delivered as well as the challenges and opportunities that face recreation managers in public forests.
Forecast Timber Supply from our Forests
COFORD will present the most recent forecasts for timber volumes over the next 18 years. This display and related presentation will include forecasts at national, provincial, regional and county levels from State and private forests.
The updated COFORD Timber Supply FORECAST GIS application allows these forecasts to be downloaded and details can be obtained at its stand.
Forest Service display on new EU Timber Regulation
Illegal logging is a chronic problem for many timber- producing countries in the developing world. In response, the EU has developed an Action Plan to improve Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
In October last year, a new regulation (995/2010) was published, which lays down the 'due diligence' obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. It is hoped to be fully implemented from March 2013. As part of the consultation process, the Forest Service intends to make presentations at the show outlining this issue.
Forests, Carbon and Climate Change
The aim of the CARBIFOR project being undertaken by UCD is to quantify the carbon sequestration and storage potential of Irish forests.
The carbon stored by forests, as part of a national climate change mitigation option, will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and, consequently, Ireland's payments under the Kyoto protocol. The project takes measurements of carbon storage and loss from forest vegetation, deadwood and soils.
The display will present highlights of this research and give visitors an idea of the amount of carbon Irish forests absorb annually.
Irish Timber Growers' Association
The ITGA was established in 1977. The membership of the association mirrors the wide range of different timber growers in the country and allows the association to take a broad view of the industry and issues facing the sector.
Its information services, and the recently developed model timber sales dispatch system and related supports for growers, will be on display in the Conference Centre and members of the committee will be available at the stand to answer queries from the public and discuss the benefits of membership of the organisation.
The show at Birr Castle Estate is primarily aimed at the extensive and varied list of people who earn their living from forestry but there is lots of further interest to see at the wildlife and conservation association exhibits and other trade and voluntary stands.
There are certain tax incentives in place where the managing of forestry or woodlands is carried out on a commercial basis, namely an income tax exemption on profits arising from forestry operations, a capital gains tax exemption on the sale of timber and a partial stamp duty relief on any forestry land.