Minister of State Andrew Doyle has commissioned an independent study on the forestry sector in Co Leitrim in response to severe criticism of the level and type of forestry planting in the county.
The study will be led by Dr Áine Ní Dhubháin, senior lecturer in agriculture and forestry in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.
The terms of reference will be finalised shortly and the report will be concluded by late summer.
Its findings can provide information to local communities and the wider rural/agricultural sector so they understand the impacts of the expansion of the forest sector
Speaking at the AGM of the Irish Farmers Association, Minister Doyle said: “There are widely differing and often contradictory claims reported about the economic, social and environmental impacts of land use change to forestry.
“It’s important that these claims are evidence-based and the goal of this study is to review some of the common claims and perceptions made about forestry in Co Leitrim.
“Its findings can provide information to local communities and the wider rural/agricultural sector so they understand the impacts of the expansion of the forest sector and it will obviously help to inform Government policy on forestry, rural development and land use.”
Minister Doyle said: “It is important to emphasise that there are no regional or county targets for forestry.”
He added: “This study will also engage with local communities and assess the impacts of forestry, both positive and negative.”
Almost half of Leitrim forestry premiums issued outside the county
Rally against forestry
Over 1,000ac of Leitrim forestry planning applications appealed