The role forestry will play in halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050 is acknowledged in the Government’s Climate Action Plan. It identifies afforestation as the largest land-based climate change mitigation measure available. The role of sustainable timber production is also recognised in displacing fossil-based material, especially in construction. Add in biodiversity, recreation, social and other non-wood functions and the benefits of achieving a sustainable forestry programme become even more obvious for the wider agricultural sector and rural economy.
With the ability to produce yields three times higher than the EU average, the forestry sector offers the potential to significantly increase income on Irish farms. And with less than one third of European average forestry cover, this can be achieved without affecting food security.