5 million broadleaf trees to be planted in Ireland this year

The start of the 2018/2019 forestry planting season has been officially launched by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle.

The launch took place during a visit to a tree nursery in Ballymurn, Co. Wexford today (Tuesday, November 20).

The nursery belongs to the None-So-Hardy company and is their specialist broad-leaf nursery from where almost five-million broadleaf trees will be dispatched during the upcoming planting season.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Doyle commented: “It’s appropriate that the opening of this year’s planting season is announced at a tree nursery specialising in broadleaf tree production, given the huge uplift in broadleaf planting so far this year.

Planting levels of broadleaf trees are 25% higher than last year and is a direct result of higher grant and premium afforestation rates introduced by my department earlier this year.

He explained that it highlights the diversity within the programme and noted the significant environmental benefits which he said it continues to deliver.

“The planting of native woodlands so far in 2018 has exceeded 300ha, representing a 130% increase on the first year of the Forestry Programme in 2015.”

The Afforestation Scheme is said to be the “cornerstone” of the department’s policy to develop a sustainable forest sector that aims to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to society.

I understand from None-So-Hardy that they have collected some 12t of acorns locally in the past two years, all of which will supply an increasing demand from landowners to plant native species.

During the visit, the minister highlighted the important economic contribution that forestry makes in rural communities across the country.

The Minister said: “Last year, over 13,000 farmers across the country received nearly €68 million in forestry premium payments and €25 million in revenue from timber sales.

“I would encourage farmers to consider forestry as part of the farming mix, an opportunity to diversify the income stream and a means of increasing production of under-utilised land.

“Applications are now invited under the scheme under which 100% of the costs of establishment are covered by the department and 15 guaranteed annual premium payments are also available,” he concluded.