• Pippa Hackett

Forestry and wood sectors worth more than €2 billion annually according to new COFORD study





Press Release

The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett, today received a study from COFORD on the economic activity and employment levels in the Irish Forest Sector. The study has been funded by the Minister’s Department, and authored by Henry Phillips and Forestry Services Ltd.

The study, “Economic activity and employment levels in the Irish forest sector”, finds the combined estimate for direct and indirect employment levels is 3,500 for the forestry and harvesting sector and 5,900 for the manufacturing of wood and wood products sector. These levels show a significant contribution to employment from forestry, mostly in rural areas.

The economic contribution to the economy is estimated at over €2 billion per annum.

Welcoming the publication, which was and facilitated by members of the COFORD Socio-Economic Working Group, the Minister said:

“Forestry provides a range of benefits for this country including social, environmental and economic. This study clearly demonstrates the important contribution that our forests make in providing employment throughout rural Ireland. Producing the wood that we use in constructing and heating our homes requires many inputs along the forest chain over an extended period of time. This includes people employed in our nurseries growing the seedlings, those establishing and regenerating forests, and the many involved in harvesting those trees. What this study makes clear is that wood generates considerable employment in creating and renewing the forests of today and tomorrow. These forests also make a positive contribution to our economy, environment, and well-being”.

The study builds on previous work and provides solid information on the employment levels and economic activity across a broad range of forest activities. The focus is on arriving at robust estimates of employment within the forestry, harvesting and wood processing sector. Both direct and indirect employment are estimated, using and data from surveys and multipliers to estimate indirect employment.

Dr Eugene Hendrick, Chairperson of the COFORD Council stated:

“I would like to acknowledge the work and voluntary effort of all of the members of the COFORD Socio-Economic Working Group under its chair Professor Aine Ni Dhubhain, as well as the report’s authors in fulfilling the mandate for this study, which accords well with COFORD’s role as a provider of science-based information and advice to the Minister and the Department.

This ground-breaking study provides new ways to update employment estimates for the Irish forest sector in a timely fashion. Based on activity data such as afforestation and regeneration levels, harvesting volumes and other inputs it will allow policy makers and the wider forest sector to arrive at well-founded, consistent and comparable employment estimates now and into the future.