DEAR SIR: Regarding the article in a recent Irish Farmers Journal on forestry in Leitrim, the main problem is the overuse of Sitka Spruce plantations.
There are much more productive, attractive and environmentally sustainable forestry options, such as native woodland, agroforestry integrated into pasture or fruit and nut production, willow coppicing, etc.
Though needing special management, there are many studies showing that agroforestry can lead to increased agricultural productivity (and having the extra produce of timber or fruit crops).
It can also lead to increased biodiversity and improved soil health.
In addition, native woodland/agroforestry are much more attractive plantations (than the dead zones produce by Sitka Spruce) and produce a natural amenity that could even be a source of tourism.
It would be great if these better forms of forestry could be promoted.