The IFA president Tim Cullinan has claimed that hundreds of jobs have already been lost in the forestry sector as a result of Government failure to tackle the issues relating to the forestry licencing system.
The comments came ahead of a protest of forestry owners outside the Convention Centre in Dublin this morning. Foresters – joined by the IFA – are seeking emergency legislation to attempt to overcome the continued difficulties faced by farmers when seeking forestry licences.
This is jeopardising the entire industry
“Farmers are being denied the right to manage their forests. They planted their land with the legitimate expectation that they would be able to thin and realise an income during its rotation, but the delays mean that this is no longer a reality for many,” said the IFA president.
“This is jeopardising the entire industry, from nurseries to sawmilling, with hundreds of jobs already lost. The increased volume of imported timber is placing the health of the forest estate at unnecessary risk,” he claimed.
€10,000/ha in losses
Cullinan also stated that the value of farmers’ forestry may decrease by up to €10,000/ha should the issuing of forestry thinning licences continue to delay forestry management.
“Not to mention the economic burden on forest owners who cannot release the equity in their forests or who are watching the value of their timber crop decrease by over €10,000/ha if they cannot get a licence to thin,” he said.
The IFA forestry chair Vincent Nally has said that red tape is preventing farmers from realising the economic potential of their forestry. He also claimed that the window of opportunity for restoring confidence in the sector is closing.
“We are here today to let the minister know that farmers have had enough. If there is any chance of restoring farmer confidence in forestry, the minister must act now
“Restoring farmers’ confidence in forestry, and supporting farm forestry once more, is the only option if Ireland is to achieve the ambitious annual afforestation targets set out in the 2019 Climate Action Plan of 8,000ha,” stated Nally.