New fund looking for 15,000ha of Irish forestry

Direct land acquisition, lease contracts, afforestation, and other forms of land management will be financed from a new fund to develop a portfolio of up to 15,000 hectares of forests, owned by some of Ireland’s estimated 19,500 private owners of small forests.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan announced €200m of investment in Irish forestry projects.

The investors in the fund are the European Investment Bank (EIB), Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), and Dasos, a specialist forestry investment fund based in Finland.

Dasos will inject €112m, with €55m from the ISIF, and a further €28.5m from the EIB.

The initiative was announced in Co Wicklow last Friday by Forestry Minister Andrew Doyle, European Investment Bank Vice President Andrew McDowell, European Commissioner Phil Hogan, Director of the ISIF Eugene O’Callaghan, and Chief Executive of Dasos Olli Haltia.

Minister Doyle said: “The mobilisation of timber from privately owned forests is a key objective of my Department, and this investment fund will make a significant contribution towards achieving this goal.”

The fund is expected to help ensure a more predictable supply of wood for the sawmill industry, from small forests now reaching an age that requires more scale-efficient forest management. The forestry fund will be run by Dasos Ireland under The Foraois Limited Partnership title.

  • The European Investment Bank has separately confirmed a new €90 million long-term loan to the State-owned forestry group, Coillte, to finance planting, forest management and road construction and maintenance over the next four years.

Under this investment, more than 35,000 hectares will be replanted; more than 1,600 km of forest roads will be constructed and upgraded, and 1,000 km of walking routes and mountain bike trails will be improved.

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