Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, Pippa Hackett is urging forestry stakeholders and the public to take part in two significant forestry consultations which opened today (Wednesday, October 19).

The first consultation is on the National Forestry Strategy (2023-2030). The second is on the next Forestry Programme and includes the associated Strategic Environmental Assessment Report and Appropriate Assessment Natura Impact Statement.

Both consultations will remain open for six weeks.

The junior minister has made the call for feedback amid “detailed discussion” which is ongoing between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Expenditure and Public Reform on grant rates for planting forestry.

Minister Hackett said: “We want everybody’s views on the strategy and this a great opportunity for people to shape the future of forestry in Ireland.

“The vast majority of us want more trees, more diverse forests and more wood products. A new forestry programme, underpinned by a new forest strategy, will deliver the changes we need.”

Last month Ireland adopted a Shared National Vision for Trees, Woods and forests until 2050.

Minister Hackett has said that it is an ambitious vision that advocates for an expansion of multi-functional and diverse forests, delivering multiple benefits for climate, nature, water quality, wood, people, economy and rural development.

Forestry Programme

The Forestry Programme comprises a list of actions and measures to achieve the ambitions set out in Ireland’s Shared National Vision for Trees, Woods and Forests until 2050.

The programme will run from 2023 until 2027 and will be the main implementation mechanism for the Forest Strategy in the immediate to short-term, according to the minister.

Budget 2023 included an allocation for forestry of €112 million.

The DAFM has said it is currently in detailed discussion with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to agree grant and premium rates for the new programme in order to incentivise the necessary levels of planting for Ireland to meet its afforestation targets.

The DAFM said it hopes to be in a position to publish these details in the coming weeks.

The Forestry Programme 2023–2027 contains a series of eight different interventions:

  • Forest creation;
  • Agroforestry;
  • Infrastructure and technology investments;
  • Sustainable forest management;
  • Developing skills and empowering the forest sector for sustainable forest management;
  • Open forests – social, cultural and heritage forests;
  • Climate resilient reforestation;
  • Reconstitution.

The Forest Strategy is designed to provide an overarching framework that identifies the actions needed to implement the change required for Ireland’s forests.