40 afforestation contracts approved in December

40 contracts for afforestation were approved in December 2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

According to the January 2021 afforestation report, no contracts were denied by the department. The approvals were decided on between December 8 and 23.

Of the 40 contracts approved, Co. Cork accounts for five of them; counties Roscommon, Galway and Wicklow account for four each; Co. Tipperary accounts for three; counties Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Kerry, Cavan, Kilkenny and Clare account for two each; and counties Wexford, Leitrim, Donegal, Sligo, Offaly and Laois account for one each.

The contracts range in size from 0.47ha in one of the Limerick contracts, to 26.7ha in one of the Cork contracts. The total size of all contracts amounts to some 364ha.

The contracts are a mix between broadleaf-only and a combination of broadleaf and conifer. Of the 40 approved contracts, 18 are broadleaf-only and 22 are mixed broadleaf/conifer.

Forest genetics

In other forestry-related news, the department recently released a report into forestry genetics, in order to “mobilise genetic resources”.

The report was released just before Christmas by Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett.

Minister Hackett said that the report “sets out the strategy to ensure factors such as genetic resources and the sustainable supply of seeds are mobilised to increase the adaptive capacity of our forests”.

Forest genetic resources are integral to the successful development of our forests.

“Well adapted and carefully sourced reproductive material, suited to Ireland’s soils and growing environments, are the building blocks for the expansion of the forest estate and for its continual regeneration. They are fundamental to providing the long-term economic, environmental and societal benefits that forests provide,” Minister Hackett.