The deeping crisis in Ireland's forestry sector will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow.
A meeting of IFA members, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, and Jo O’Hara - who is advising on the implementation of the MacKinnon Report - will attempt to resolve licence crisis.
IFA’s Farm Forestry chairman, Vincent Nally, said the meeting would allow for open discussion around the newly-launched Project Woodland and the plans that will be put in place to improve delivery of forestry licences.
“This is a priority for forest owners who have been waiting, in some instances for years, to get a licence to manage their forests,” said Mr Nally.
“With the number issued in February down 22% on January, farmers are very worried they will not get a licence to manage their forest and will be unable to realise its commercial value.”
Meanwhile, last month a total of 272 forest licences were issued compared with 349 in January, according to IFA.
Of those, 168 were issued to the private sector and 104 issued to Coillte.
“The breakdown to the private sector includes 48 afforestation licences; 66 forest road licences; and 54 felling licences,” the Farm Forestry chairman continued.
“Considering the additional resources that have already been allocated, this is still well below what is required by the sector, particularly in light of the 4,500 licences that have now accumulated in the system.
“For the plan to work for farmers with forestry, it’s essential that the costs and bureaucracy associated with planting and managing are significantly reduced.
“An immediate action must be the introduction by way of a piloted environmental planning grant to ensure equity across applicant types and to provide much-needed support to farmers that want to manage their forests”.