The national forest estate has expanded to 11.6% of the total land area in Ireland, according to the annual forest statistics report for 2022.
Meanwhile, for the first time, more than half (50.9%) of forests are now in private ownership.
Also, in 2021 the volume of roundwood removals was at 4.33m3, an increase of 11% on the 2020 roundwood removals of 3.89m3.
Announcing the publication of Forest Statistics - Ireland 2022, Minister of State Pippa Hackett said the national forest estate is still expanding and has now reached 11.6% of the total land area or 808,848ha.
“This expansion in the total forest area is as a result of direct afforestation and also the natural expansion of semi-natural forests. For the first time in the history of the State, the area of privately owned forests exceeds the area of publicly owned forests,” she said.
Noting the decreasing trend in the area being afforested annually, the minister said: “The work of Project Woodland will be key in establishing a way forward through the development of a new forest strategy and forestry programme. Incentivising the creation of new forests through our new forestry programme, which will come into place in January 2023, will be essential to meeting not only our economic objectives but also our climate change targets and our aims in terms of enhancing biodiversity.”
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