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10 key statistics from the Forest Statistics Report 2020

Photo: Brandon Montrone.

The Forest Statics Report is prepared annually by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.



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29 July 2020

The Forest Statics Report is prepared annually by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“’Forest Statistics – Ireland 2020’ is the annual compilation of statistics on the forest estate and the forest sector in Ireland.”, said Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Senator Pippa Hackett.

Minister Hackett continued: “It is the definitive compendium of up-to-date information on forestry in Ireland and is the go-to reference document for anybody interested in the subject. The Programme for Government makes clear our commitment to forestry, and woodland habitat creation in Ireland. As I engage with all stakeholders on these commitments, it’s important to have reliable statistics to chart the progress of this new forestry programme.”

  1. In 2019, €89.9m was spent by DAFM on forest activities including afforestation, maintenance grants, annual premium payments, and grants for forest road infrastructure.
  2. During 2019, 3,550 hectares of new forests were created. Cork had the highest afforestation area at 423 hectares followed by Clare at 352 hectares.
  3. Nationally, conifer species are the dominant species present, representing 71.2% of forest area while broadleaved species accounted for 28.7%.
  4. The proportion of broadleaves in new forests created during 2019 was 25% which was up from 21% in the previous year.
  5. Over half (50.8%) of forests are in public ownership, with the remainder in private ownership. Farmers have accounted for 81% of private lands afforested between 1980 and 2019.
  6. Since 1980, over 23,000 private land owners have received grant aid to establish forests. The average size of private grant-aided afforestation since 1980 is 8.6 hectares.
  7. Roundwood harvest (including firewood) in the Republic of Ireland in 2018 was 3.69M metres cubed, the highest level since records began. The private forest harvest exceeded 1M metres cubed for the first time. 40% of the wood fibre available for use was used for energy generation, mainly within the forest products sector.
  8. The construction of 94 kilometres of private forest roads was funded during 2019, an increase of 20 kilometres on the previous year. This reflects the projected increase in timber and wood to be harvested which is expected to double by 2030.
  9. Felling licences were issued during 2019 for the thinning of 47,571 hectares and the clearfelling of 9,626 hectares.
  10. Over half of Ireland’s forest estate is certified by international non-governmental organisations to promote good forest practice. The vast majority of this area is in the public forest estate, with 11,181 hectares of private forest currently certified.

See here to read the full report.

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