A new forestry group has been formed to highlight and address the problems facing private operators in the industry.

The Social Economic and Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA) is an alliance of private forestry professionals.

It includes None so Hardy (Forestry) Ltd, Forestry Services Ltd, Western Forestry Co-op, Greenbelt Ltd, Euroforest Ireland, The Forestry Company, Arbor Forest Management Ltd, Axe Forestry Ltd, SWS Forestry Services Ltd and Forestlink Ltd.

Kilkenny-based consultant Paddy Bruton said the immediate aim is to “prevent the complete demise of the private forestry sector”. He said SEEFA would seek to raise awareness around the “complete scandal” of the forestry licences issue. The new body wants to counter what he described as sidelining of forestry in discussions on the new CAP. “It is obvious from the recent townhall meetings on CAP that the Department is blind to all past mistakes regarding the integration of afforestation, forestry professionals and woodland management into CAP.”