Timber growers' bible an essential on bookshelves of forest enthusiasts
One of the very last official functions carried out by Shane McEntee TD, the late junior minister at the Department of Agriculture, was to launch the Forestry and Timber Yearbook 2013.
Typical of the man, he travelled to Dublin from his Meath constituency that day specifically to launch the yearbook as he had made a commitment to do so, and despite the fact that he was, as it later so tragically transpired, clearly in a state of deep personal trauma.
The entire country was shocked and saddened to learn the following day of his untimely death. Shane was a genuinely committed and conscientious public servant who brought an uncommon degree of energy and enthusiasm to his work with the forestry sector and he will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.
Now in its 24th year, the Forestry and Timber Yearbook is an Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) publication, and one that has become an essential addition to the bookshelves of anyone in the forestry industry.
I eagerly await its arrival just before Christmas every year and back numbers are a constant source of reference. Industry statistics, updated annually, are succinctly reproduced. The directory section, probably the mainstay of the publication, has a full listing and contact details of companies, businesses and organisations in the forestry and timber sectors.
As a result it has become an essential reference for forestry practitioners, growers and the wider industry. And the many articles on a diverse range of subjects are always well written, clear and informative.
Some years ago, the yearbook directory was made available online and it now appears on three websites: www.itga.ie; www.forestry.ie; and www.forestryyearbook.ie.
The websites have registered more than 1.4 million hits over the past year alone. The directory has undoubtedly been the main driver behind this success as it has expanded well beyond the confines of the forestry and timber industry to include all aspects of the renewable energy and associated sectors. You can now find anything from a forestry consultant to a local wood fuel supplier in the directory. This year there has been an unprecedented demand for entries and the websites have been upgraded to cope.