Forestry industry in €12.5m EIB boost
Ireland's forestry industry is set for a €12.5m boost on foot of fresh investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The EIB is directing the money towards implementing so-called "continuous cover forestry" techniques in Irish commercial projects. The money comes from a €400m programme designed to support conservation projects across Europe.
Continuous cover is a method of forestry that sees trees cut down at irregular intervals, rather than felling whole sections of a forest. The idea is to maintain tree cover, lessening the exposure of soil to the elements.
The EIB said the method makes forests more resilient to pests and disease, "as well as avoiding the negative impacts on soil and water resources of conventional practices".
Andrew McDowell, EIB vice-president responsible for Ireland, said the deal would "demonstrate how best practice in Ireland's world-class forestry industry can take better account of the need to safeguard biodiversity, soils and landscapes, and help resist the threats associated with climate change."
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said the investment "shows how conservation considerations can be combined with commercial activity."
The EIB is owned by EU member states and says its purpose is to "make long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals."
The EIB said it was also looking to deploy capital to support projects in urban areas as part of the conservation scheme. It said it expected to support schemes designed to address urban heatwaves and flash flooding.