'Funding could double wood production'
Wood production on the island of Ireland could almost double between now and 2028 to more than 7m cubic metres, a new Government report has claimed.
Private sector forestry in the Republic of Ireland is by far the biggest driver in the predicted increase, according to the COFORD report, with the potential for wood supply from this sector to increase eight-fold between 2011 and 2028.
However, the IFA has warned that the predicted increase in timber production will not materialise unless critical issues in the private forestry sector are addressed.
Geraldine O'Sullivan, executive secretary of the IFA forestry committee insisted that a lack of funding for forestry roads could prevent crucial targets being met.
"Unless farmers can get in to thin their plantations at the appropriate time, they will not have the volume or quality of timber needed to reach those targets," she pointed out.
Unless forests are thinned before they reach 13m in height, there is a major risk of wind damage to plantations. As a result, many farmers who don't manage to thin their plantations before they reach 13m in height often leave them unthinned.
"In this case, they will end up with lower-value product, more stake wood, pallet and pulp and less of the high-value saw log," said the forestry expert.