Irish timber supplies are to increase by 61% to 7.9m cubic metres by 2035, the Department of Agriculture’s all-Ireland roundwood production forecast 2021-2040 has found.
The forecast predicts that the annual potential timber supply will increase from 4.9m cubic metres in 2021 to 7.9m cubic metres by 2035, followed by a small decrease to remain constant at about 7.6m cubic metres up to 2040.
Launching the forecast, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Senator Pippa Hackett said the information in the report highlights the growing importance of the forestry sector in Ireland.
“A future roundwood forecast is valuable for forest owners and wood processors to have an accurate production schedule of available timber for current and future markets.
"It’s also very valuable for Government in helping to plan future policy in this area.
Project Woodland is being developed and making progress towards addressing the challenges with the forest licensing process
“Project Woodland is being developed and making progress towards addressing the challenges with the forest licensing process, as an efficient licensing process is key to achieving the forecasted levels of supply on a sustainable basis.”
She said the Department has supported landowners over the past number of decades through the afforestation programme and related forest schemes in planting forests where much of this forecasted timber will be produced.
“This timber will contribute to the economy, employment in rural areas, the supply of high-quality timber to the construction sector and the export of processed wood.
“It’s also very important from an environmental point of view, as harvested wood products will increasingly grow to replace fossil fuel products and become a key part of our national climate policy.”
There is an online tool accompanying the forecast that allows users to generate their own regional forecast for an area of interest specified by the user.
The portal facilitates the dissemination of comprehensive volume forecast information in an accessible, reproducible and transparent way.