Renewed interest in investment in forestry plantations

Renewed interest in investment in forestry plantations

In the forestry sector, the trends are pointing towards renewed interest coupled with an increasing scarcity of supply and a focus on softwood plantations with faster yields (rather than hardwood plantations).

In other words, it’s a sector that’s going well and whenever a good large plantation comes on the market, it isn’t long before the phones are ringing.

A 100-acre property new to the market with Clonakilty-based agents Hodnett-Forde would appear to be a case in point.

According to the West Cork auctioneers, there has been strong interest already in the holding located over the border in Cummeen Upper, Co Kerry, in a valley to the south of the village of Kilgarvan.

It’s 100 even acres of a semi-mature forestry planted in 1994,” says selling agent John Hodnett. “It’s laid out in one block and it’s south-facing.

The plantation is composed of a mixture of sitka spruce and Japanese larch, say the auctioneers.

“There’s also a small bit of sycamore and ash,” says John.

“It seems to be maturing at a very satisfactory rate and it’s easily accessible with great road frontage.”

Prices per acre of forestry plantations vary mostly according to different soil type, says Mr Hodnett, and the interest in this particular property has been coming from various sources including some interest from Germany.

“Ireland’s climate is very attractive and very suitable for forestry plantation compared to mainland Europe where there’s a longer crop rotation to reach maturity,” he says

Mr Hodnett says forestry plantations have been known to make up to €6,000 or €7,000 per acre: “However, it all depends on the quality of the underlying ground, which will reflect on the quality of the crop and the consistency of growth and, ultimately, on the yield.”

The supply of bare ground suitable for forestry is scarce, he says, with additional complications of areas of special conservation tightening further the availability of areas that can be used for plantation.

The planning process to allow a plantation to go ahead have also become more complicated than they were in the past.

The price expectation for this plantation is €4,000 to €4,500 per acre, with the property already under offer after less than a week on the market.

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