Teagasc’s new Forest Carbon Tool was launched on Wednesday, to be used by forest owners to predict the potential environmental benefits if they’re considering creating new woodlands.

Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett has described the tool as extremely versatile with the ability to factor in livestock on farms in agroforestry systems and model conifers and broadleaves on different soil types.

The tool was established with the support of the Department of Agriculture and developed by Teagasc with specialist input from FERs Ltd.

Versatile tool

Forest owners will be able to calculate how much carbon can be removed in woodlands.

The model indicates that mean annual sequestration rates can range from 1-9t CO2/ha and is influenced by the species, age and soil types entered.

It also highlights that all types of forestry have a key role to play in mitigating climate change.

Conifer species can return high sequestration rates especially when harvested wood products are taken in account, while broadleaved forests also cumulatively remove large amounts of CO2 over their lifetime.

Carbon mitigation

Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle said the Forest Carbon Tool will have important awareness-raising and decision-support functions, providing indicative data on the role of different planting options and their capacity to contribute to farm level mitigation.

“Carbon sequestration is one of a range of important services being provided by sustainably managed forests. These include timber production, water quality protection, landscape and biodiversity enhancement,” Boyle said.

“Factors such as landowners’ objectives, species choices and forest management approaches are central to determining the specific mix of services that farm forests can provide.”

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