Industry Updates

Industry Update - January 2021


Irish Timber Growers Association call for Carbon payments for landowners who plant trees

The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) have called for a mechanism to facilitate Carbon payments for landowners who plant trees and are calling for a Forest Carbon Code to be established in Ireland supported by Government that will facilitate such a credible Voluntary Carbon Offsets scheme for tree planting.

The association have made the case that woodland creation and sustainable forest management should be a source of income for growers through their carbon storage capability. This possibility is a reality in the UK, through their Woodland Carbon Code which provides reassurance about the carbon savings that companies can achieve by being associated with woodland planting projects.

Donal Whelan of the Irish Timber Growers Association stated that, 'there is now a massive worldwide market for such Voluntary Carbon Offsets and Ireland will miss out on this opportunity if we don’t establish such a credible and verifiable Forest Carbon Code'.

For full details, see ITGA Press Release 'GROWERS AND CARBON PAYMENTS'.

For further information, contact:
Donal Whelan, Technical Director, Irish Timber Growers Association
Tel: 087 2209422

Industry Update - December 2020


 Forestry IE Insights Bordered


The FORESTRY.IE INSIGHTS 2020 series of webinars attracted large numbers of attendees and received excellent feedback. It is intended to continue the Webinars in 2021.

The FORESTRY.IE INSIGHTS series of 2020 webinars were hosted in association with the Irish Timber Growers Association and supported by the Irish Farmers Journal.

Timber sales and markets, forestry taxation and the value of your forest were just some of the topics that featured in the 2020 series of Webinars aimed at forest owners and the wider sector. The webinars featured experts in the fields of timber sales and sale agreements, forestry valuation and taxation, tree felling licence application and related procedures and processes.

Donal Whelan said that the series of Webinars would be continued next year and stated, 'the aim of the webinars is to provide practical information on forestry matters that arise at critical stages in a woodland's development'. He outlined that, 'the 2020 series was aimed at forest owners who were intending to thin, harvest and sell timber and who may be looking for general guidance on the major issues to be considered.'

All webinars were free of charge and FORESTRY.IE will keep forest owners and the wider sector informed of additional topics to be covered in 2021.

For more information, see the dedicated webpage


Minister Hackett launches 2021 ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook 

Minister with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, launched the 2021 ITGA Forestry and Timber Yearbook. In welcoming the Yearbook publication, it’s 32nd edition, the Minister stated that, 'the Yearbook continues to reflect the importance of the sector, its economic and environmental significance and provides the sector with important reference material and is an ideal compendium of information for growers and the industry'.

The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) Chairman, Brendan Lacey, thanked the Minister and said that, 'As a sector, forestry is ideally placed to form a core part of agriculture in Ireland, enhancing its sustainability through offsetting agricultural emissions, sequestering carbon and increasing biodiversity.' He outlined that the Yearbook highlights the many attributes of forestry including its economic, environmental and social importance through the articles and statistical information in the publication.

Copies of the 2021 Forestry & Yearbook can be purchased Online in our SHOP.

Minister Hackett launches 2021 Forestry & Timber Yearbook

Minister Hackett launches the 2021 ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook in Ticknock forest.
Pictured (from left to right) Pat Neville (Coillte, Sponsors of the Forestry Yearbook), Donal Whelan (ITGA), Donal Magner (Editor of the Forestry Yearbook), Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Forestry, Mechteld Schuller (ITGA) and Brendan Lacey (Chairman ITGA)

Full Press Release


Wood Awards Ireland 2020 Winners Announced

Wood Awards Ireland 2020 winners and commendations were recently announced as Ireland's architects, engineers, designers, wood workers and other practitioners specialising in wood entered a diverse range of projects. Major works in construction - small and large-scale - conservation, furniture, research and innovation impressed Ciaran O'Connor, State Architect and fellow judges in the field of architecture, engineering and design. See Newsletter featuring overall and category winners, and commended projects


Sustainable Development and Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources 2020-2030

The Coford Report Sustainable Development and Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources 2020-2030 was launched by Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) with responsibility for forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett and is available from the Coford Website.


Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020

The Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 commenced on 6th October 2020. This is an Act to provide for matters relating to forestry including, in relation to the Forestry Appeals Committee, reporting on the activities of the Committee, enabling the Committee to sit in divisions to determine appeals, procedures and arrangements for conduct of appeals by the Committee and the payment of fees to the Committee in respect of appeals; and for those purposes to amend the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 ; to provide for the publication of information relating to applications for licences for felling, afforestation, forest road works or aerial fertilisation of forests; for those purposes to amend the Forestry Act 2014 ; and to provide for related matters.

Industry Update - May 2020



National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017 - 2021

Interim Review 2020

In Ireland, 85% of EU protected habitats are reported as being in unfavourable status with 46% demonstrating ongoing declines. The main drivers of this decline are agricultural practices which are negatively impacting over 70% of habitats, particularly ecologically unsuitable grazing, abandonment and pollution. Of particular note are declines in peatlands and grasslands, and some of the marine habitats.

There is decline of 14% reported for bee species. There has been a 2.6% decline in the number of surface waters assessed as being in satisfactory ecological health. Short term assessments also undertaken for breeding and a selection of wintering bird populations reported declines of 18% and 52% respectively. Ireland's 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 is an over-arching Government policy that is comprised of a suite of Objectives, Targets and Actions that aim to achieve Ireland's Vision for Biodiversity that "biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland are conserved and restored, delivering benefits essential for all sectors of society and that Ireland contributes to efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU and globally". Many positive actions for Biodiversity have been taken since 2017. There has been considerable increase in awareness of, engagement in and collaboration on biodiversity issues. Clearly, much more needs to be done to reverse the trends in biodiversity loss. Ireland needs to avail of all relevant national and EU funding streams critical for biodiversity conservation and ensure that we are maximising the full range of potential financing mechanisms (e.g. payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets, restoration of carbon sinks, fiscal transfers, etc.), together with improved targeting of existing measures for biodiversity. Accessing funds through the next CAP and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will be critical to biodiversity conservation. A transformational approach is also required to ensure our consumption patterns are truly sustainable and to safeguard biodiversity on this island.

Some areas within the current Plan that were highlighted in the report as needing more emphasis include, amongst others:

  • New farming models to aid the diversification of agriculture and appropriate reduction in intensification in some areas
  • The development of a National Green Infrastructure Strategy to include agricultural landscapes
  • Management Plans for protected habitats and species
  • Restoration plans for species in severe decline
  • Restructuring of legacy non-productive, badly-sited conifer plantations; especially on peatlands
  • Further expansion of native woodland to ensure functioning natural woodland across the landscape
  • The establishment of new frameworks for private sector investment and innovation
  • The integration of natural capital accounts into decision making
  • Invertebrate monitoring
  • An Invasive Species Strategy
  • Additional expertise across government to facilitate collaboration.

The above outline was taken from the Biodiversity Working Group (2020) Interim Review of the Implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017 -2021.

For the full Report see Interim Review of the Implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017 -2021



Seeing the wood in the forests

A timely new report *) from the European Forest Institute assesses how much wood we are likely to have now and in the future to support a transformational change, and explores the vast potential and implications for its uses.

We need to accelerate the transition from the existing global fossil and wasteful economy towards a renewable economy: a circular bioeconomy. If we are serious about mitigating climate change, we must find new ways to replace fossil and non-renewable raw materials, energy and products like concrete, steel, plastics or synthetic textiles with sustainable, renewable materials.

Wood is, in fact, the most versatile renewable material on earth and, from a sustainability and circular economy perspective, has a comparative advantage relative to other materials. Furthermore, forests, sustainable forest management and forest-based solutions can advance the bioeconomy while enhancing biodiversity and supporting wealth creation in rural and urban areas.

The European Forest Institute report considers the structural changes affecting the use of wood globally and the potential for innovation in forest-based product markets, from engineered wood products in the construction sector, pulp used for textiles, chemicals, bioplastics and energy, to the growing number of small niche markets, including cosmetics, food additives and pharmaceuticals. It explores the future demand for roundwood under business-as-usual scenarios and when contemplating trends which curb the use of wood while foreseeing increased demand for other forest bioproducts. Finally, it describes the need for investment in research to synthesise current knowledge and assess future environmental, economic, social and policy prospects, which will support a truly sustainable development of the circular bioeconomy.

Seeing the wood in the forests is published by the European Forest Institute in its new Knowledge to Action series, which aims to bring a wide range of research, projects and initiatives on forest-related issues closer to society. See Seeing the wood in the forests

*) Hetemäki, L., Palahí, M. and Nasi, R. 2020. Seeing the wood in the forests. Knowledge to Action 1, European Forest Institute.


Industry Update - April 2020



Tick Advice when walking in Woodland Areas

You'll have heard the old proverb, 'Ne'er cast a clout till May be out', and while referring to the weather at this time of year, it might equally apply to covering up in the later Spring and Summer/Autumn to help prevent tick bites when walking in the great outdoors, including woodland areas.

As more people are taking to walking in the great outdoors and woodland areas in our current circumstances, it is important to be aware and to prevent tick bites. In recent years, the medical profession and the public are becoming more aware of the risk of Lyme disease, (also known as Lyme borelliosis) which is an infection bacterium that is transmitted by a bite from a tick. Where ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, sheep, goats, cattle, they can pass on the infection to people and domestic animals. Unlike humans and domestic animals, infected wild animals do not seem to show symptoms of Lyme disease.

It is important to be aware, if one is bitten by a tick, the longer the tick has been attached to the skin, the greater the risk of it passing on infection. It appears that ticks need to be attached and to have been feeding for hours for a person to be at risk of an infection. Where a tick is removed as soon as it bites or soon after, then the risk of infection is minimal.

While Lyme disease can be very debilitating, if it is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be treated with antibiotics, and the outlook for the condition is then good. Most people will make a full recovery within a couple of days. Prevention and early detection are therefore critical.

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to take sensible precautions when you are in areas that are known to have a high tick population, such as tucking your trousers into your socks, wearing gaiters, wearing long-sleeved shirts, and using insect repellent and if at all possibly stick to paths.

Some general points to remember about ticks:

  • Ticks that may cause Lyme disease can be found in many parts of Ireland.
  • High-risk areas include grassy and low vegetation and wooded areas.
  • To reduce the risk of being bitten, cover your skin as much as possible, tuck your trousers into your socks, use insect repellent and stick to paths.
  • If you are bitten, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool.
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water.
  • While the risk of getting ill is generally low, as it is thought that only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, remember the preventative measures when you are out hiking.
  • Where you've been bitten by a tick and you get flu-like symptoms or a circular red rash, you should visit your Doctor.

Useful websites to look up:


Success reflects sectors abilities

FORESTRY.IE have teamed up with Soil Association Certification to promote their courses here to the forestry community.

In recent years, Ireland has been making significant progress in Forest Certification in the private sector. In 2018, in a major initiative supported by DAFM two Forestry Producer Groups achieved Forest Certification to an international Forest Management Standard, the first such producer groups in Ireland to achieve this recognition. Since then, at least two private forestry companies have successfully achieved Forest Certification.

This November, Ireland will be hosting the International PEFC General Assembly and Certification week which is a first for our country and which will see international delegates participating from around the world. It will give Ireland's forestry sector a significant profile and reflects a sector that has considerable abilities and potential despite the difficulties it currently faces.

Acknowledging these developments, Soil Association have just announced a series of training courses to be held in Ireland in order to facilitate foresters who wish to access accredited training courses in forest certification without having to travel abroad. Soil Association Certification have teamed up with FORESTRY.IE to promote the courses here to the wider forestry community to be held from 24th August - 3rd September 2020.

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Industry Update - February-March 2020



ITGA make submissions on behalf of sector

The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) regularly responds to calls for submissions on behalf of timber growers and the sector on a range of topics. In January 2020, the Association made a submission to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) on Draft National Climate & Air Roadmap for the Agriculture sector. The main points of the ITGA submission are summarised below; ITGA pointed out that there are significant opportunities for the forestry sector to play a major role in the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society for the future. Forestry's role in the Climate and Air Roadmap for the agriculture and land use sector should be prioritised given its carbon sequestration potential and ability to displace emissions from other farming systems.

Afforestation and creation of new woodlands
From various studies, it has been estimated by COFORD that there is a need to continue afforestation at a level of 15,000 hectares per annum for the next two decades to sustain the ability of our national forest estate to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the longer term. Achieving this aim will also provide a renewable energy resource into the future by facilitating the replacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy through the utilisation of forest residues as biomass. In addition, an afforestation programme of 15,000 hectares per annum will also ensure sustainable raw material for construction and a range of other uses with knock on benefits for the longer term storage of carbon. Expansion of the national forest estate should therefore be a key component of Ireland's National Climate Change and Land Use Policy. This objective must therefore be given priority in the National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and beyond.

Potential wider role for forestry in National Climate and Air Roadmap

The forestry sector provides a range of opportunities to mitigate rises in greenhouse gas levels, including:

  • afforestation/reforestation;
  • active forest management;
  • reduced deforestation (land use change from forest to non-forest);
  • increased use of wood products;
  • use of forest products for bioenergy to replace fossil fuel use.

The following must be encouraged and prioritised in the National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector by including specific actions in the roadmap to ensure our national forest's role is maximised in climate change mitigation:

  • Increasing significantly the afforestation rate to achieve stated Forest Policy targets.
  • Fostering and supporting active forest management
  • Encouraging roundwood and also forest residue mobilisation
  • Increasing the use of wood products
  • Utilising a wider range of forest products for bioenergy to replace fossil fuels
  • Knowledge Transfer and innovative forest technology to facilitate lower emissions from the supply chain.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) have estimated a figure of 1,510 premature deaths in Ireland in 2014 (EEA 2017) directly attributable to air quality. World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline values were exceeded at a number of monitoring sites in Ireland for particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, SO2 and NO2: Forests remove harmful pollution from the environment and this is becoming increasingly well recognised. In the UK Environmental Accounts for woodland ecosystems for example (not available in Ireland), it is estimated that UK woodlands removed more harmful pollution (and carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere than any other habitat, valued at £1.8 billion in 2015. This positive role of forestry and trees in removing harmful emissions and improving air quality should be referenced in the National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector.

Given the sequestration potential of forestry in addition to the positive returns to farmer from forestry on competing marginal lands, the current draft National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and beyond requires rebalancing in regard to the potential contribution of forestry.

The Irish Timber Growers Association regularly responds to calls for submissions on behalf of timber growers and the sector on a range of topics. Over the past 6 months, the Association has submitted the following to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). (For the full submissions just click on the links below):

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