The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued an update on the number of forestry licences currently under consideration.
According to the latest figures, there are approximately 4,700 licence applications in the system, and at various stages of processing.
Of these, approximately 2,000 have been referred to ecologists for an appropriate assessment - as a result a backlog has built up over the last 18 months.
According to the Department, these files are being dealt with using a dedicated project plan while the remaining 2,700 licences are not subject to the delays currently being experienced by those licences that require ecology input.
Meanwhile, the Department highlighted how 2,330 licences have been issued under new forestry legislation that was implemented in October.
Minister of State at the Department with responsibility for Forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett said her Department receives new applications, and issues new licences continually throughout the year.
As a result, she added, there is constant turnover of applications.
“We are continuing to invest heavily in resources to help drive output,” she continued.
“At the beginning of the year there were just two ecologists working on applications but now this figure is 16, and my department is adding to this team.
“Additional forestry inspectors have also been hired to support this work; we are keeping these resources under review, and will continue to invest and recruit.”