No more biodiverse farmland can be planted with forestry in the way that had been encouraged in the past, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett told the National Biodiversity Conference.

When responding to a question on the planting of forestry in highly biodiverse habitats, Minister Hackett suggested that this land’s current land-use would be preferable for nature.

“That’s a very specific question and it is certainly something we do have to address, because we can’t afford to lose any more high nature value farmland to trees,” she said.

Minister Hackett recognised that previous forestry policies pursued by the State have had mixed results for biodiversity.

“We know that forests can contribute to nature, but we also know that forests planted in the past that were poorly sited or poorly managed have had devastating and adverse effects on biodiversity,” acknowledged Minister Hackett.