Climate & Environment

Stakes are high as €1.3bn strategy aims to grow forestry farming

The government’s new €1.3 billion forestry programme, unveiled last week, will need to win over a farming community largely uninterested in tree planting – and mistrustful of the state’s forestry service

Pippa Hackett: Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity said she believed attitudes were changing among farmers who were previously fearful of going into forestry. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Pippa Hackett is convinced that she can revive tree planting in this country, despite the fact that it is at its lowest level in 70 years.

Ireland has the natural advantage of being able to grow trees much faster than other European countries. But for a variety of reasons, just 2,000 hectares of trees will be planted here this year, just a quarter of the state’s target of 8,000 hectares contained in its current climate ...