Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for land use and biodiversity, said that Irish farmers and landowners have a "cultural aversion" to forestry as there is not a long history of it in the country.

The minister admitted defeat in relation to her own target of 8,000ha of afforestation per annum, only 2,500ha of which is currently being met.

"We have been failing for a number of years, there's a difficulty in terms of a desire to plant trees," she told RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday.

Commenting on the fact that Ireland has one of the lowest afforestation rates in Europe and one of the least diverse types of forestry, she said that the gap between forestry and farmers must be joined and a "blended approach" by farmers is needed.


A blended approach would mean all farmers would eventually have some sort of forestry on their land, along with their original farming enterprise. The minister said that farming should not be seen as an 'either-or'.

"We have essentially dealt with the felling licence backlog and have continued to try and plant as many trees as we can," she added.

The minister said that Irish farmers will see more trees planted over the coming years, including trees along waterways for water quality and agro forestry and that at the moment, people need to put more emphasis on using timber as building material.

Minster Hackett concluded by saying that as a nation, we need to create a forestry vision that embraces the timber production sector, deals with climate action and fits with communities.