Review of forestry sector by Bacon

Ireland: Consultants Peter Bacon and Associates are to carry out a socio-economic review of the forestry sector and its contribution to the environment and economy.

It has been commissioned by the Irish Forest Industry Chain (IFIC) in association with the IFA and self-assessment companies.

IFIC, the umbrella organisation representing the sector, believes the study is both timely and necessary following cutbacks in funding.

Chairman George McCarthy said EU enlargement will increase competition in key European wood product markets, specifically Britain, where the vast majority of Irish exports of panel products and sawn timber are sold.

“It is therefore vital that the Irish forest industry attains its critical mass of production as outlined in the 1996 government strategy. This objective has been dealt a serious blow by the reduction in funding for the expansion of the forest estate,” he said.

IFIC executive director Gerry Farrell said in addition to the cutbacks for forestry, increasing environmental and regulatory restrictions are strangling the sector.

“It is clear that there is a need to quantify the myriad contributions that the forest industry makes to the economy and environment.”

IFA farm forestry chairman Pat Lehane has welcomed the renewed commitment to farm forestry in the National Partnership Agreement.

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