Minister of State Pippa Hackett encourages forestry stakeholders and the public to take part in 2 significant forestry consultations which opened today. The first consultation is on the National Forestry Strategy (2023-2030). The second is on the next Forestry Programme and includes the associated Strategic Environmental Assessment Report and Appropriate Assessment Natura Impact Statement. Both consultations are open for 6 weeks.
Details on how to take part are available here: Public consultation on forestry. Minister Hackett said:
“We want everybody’s views on the Strategy and this a great opportunity for people to shape the future of forestry in Ireland. The vast majority of us want more trees, more diverse forests and more wood products. A new forestry programme, underpinned by a new forest strategy, will deliver the changes we need."
The 2 consultations come amid extensive public engagement with forestry policy in Ireland throughout 2022; these include a public attitudes survey, a citizens assembly style deliberative dialogue event, an online survey with more than 3,000 responses, bi-lateral discussions with industry stakeholders, and community- and youth-based studies. Based on this feedback, last month – for the first time ever – Ireland adopted a Shared National Vision for Trees, Woods and forests until 2050. It is an ambitious vision that advocates for an expansion of multi-functional and diverse forests, delivering multiple benefits for climate, nature, water quality, wood, people, economy and rural development.
The Forestry Programme comprises a list of actions and measures to achieve the ambitions set out in Ireland’s Shared National Vision for Trees, Woods and Forests until 2050. The Forestry Programme will run from 2023 until 2027 and will be the main implementation mechanism for the Forest Strategy in the immediate to short term. Having secured an additional €12 million in Budget 2023 for Forestry to reach a total budget of €112 million, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently in detailed discussion with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to agree grant and premium rates for the new Programme in order to incentivise the necessary levels of planting for Ireland to meet its afforestation targets. It is hoped to be in a position to publish these details in the coming weeks.
The Forestry Programme 2023 – 2027 contains a series of 8 different interventions: 1) Forest Creation 2) Agroforestry 3) Infrastructure and Technology investments 4) Sustainable Forest Management 5) Developing skills and empowering the Forest Sector for Sustainable Forest Management 6) Open Forests: Social, Cultural and Heritage Forests 7) Climate Resilient Reforestation 8) Reconstitution The Forest Strategy (2023-2030) is designed to provide an overarching framework that identifies the actions needed to implement the change required for Ireland’s forests.