A novel market has emerged for small broadleaf forests involving people who enjoy the idea of owning their own patch of woodland.

“This is something we have seen an increase in since the end of last year,” said Lorraine Woulfe of online auction forum Tradeforus Forestry.

“There is no commercial motivation in this. People are buying the plantations for no reason beyond owning a forest and enjoying it,” Woulfe maintained.

The buyers will often have no connection to farming or the forestry sector, but the fact that the plantation is helping combat climate change and biodiversity loss is an important added attraction, she explained.


“These investors generally have a budget of around €50,000, but it could range from €20,000 to €100,000,” Woulfe said.

They are in the market almost exclusively for hardwoods and particularly for mixed plantations of native species.

Demand for reafforestation land is also on the increase, Woulfe maintained.

Some landowners who have harvested plantations are opting out of the forestry sector and selling their lands rather than replanting.

“There is a lot more interest in reafforestation land, primarily from individual and institutional investors. This is something we have noticed recently,” Woulfe said.

“This land is generally making around €2,000 to €2,500/ac,” she added.

Mature plantations of sitka spruce are generally selling from €5,000/ac to €8,000/ac, with exceptional plantations making up to €10,000/ac.

The average price for these plantations was €6,000/ac.

The price paid is influenced by the projected yield class of the plantation, how well the forest has been maintained and access to the property.

Meanwhile, the latest forestry licensing dashboard shows that the area planted so far this year is just 480ha.

The Government’s annual target is 8,000ha of new forestry plantations. Afforestation licenses have been issued for 1,513ha.