The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has launched a public consultation survey on the future of forests in Ireland today (Wednesday, March 16).
This is the latest phase in the development of a new Forestry Strategy for Ireland.
The consultation is part of the work of Project Woodland to develop a new strategy for trees and forests in Ireland.
All citizens, private organisations, public authorities, communities and stakeholders are urged to contribute.
Future of forests survey
The online questionnaire is available here from today Wednesday, March 16 and will take approximately 15min to complete.
The survey features sections on the reasons why forests are planted, the places they are planted, the types of trees planted, and how forests are managed. Respondents can also provide additional information to the questionnaire.
The consultation will run for six weeks from today until April 27, 2022.
Minister of State for Biodiversity and Land Use, Senator Pippa Hackett, said:
“Trees are a vital part of our natural heritage and make significant contribution to our rural economy.
“The shared vision for forests and the forest strategy we are developing will have an impact for generations to come. I encourage the public and stakeholders to take part in the survey and to make their views known.
“Through Project Woodland we are engaging with the public, local communities and stakeholders in a series of ways; this consultation is a crucial next step in forming a new forest strategy.”
The information provided by respondents will be used to inform the final Shared National Vision for Trees and Forests in Ireland and in the development of a new Irish Forest Strategy.
Received contributions will be published on the DAFM website after the closing date.
The Minister of State established Project Woodland in February 2021 to ensure that the current licensing backlog is addressed and that a new impetus is brought to woodland creation in Ireland.
This project involves a review and refresh of processes and procedures and includes outside stakeholder participation to bring an independent perspective.
The structure of Project Woodland consists of a project board, project manager, and four working groups who are tasked with the main following areas:
- Reducing the licensing backlog;
- A shared national approach (to work on a shared national vision for the future of trees and forests in Ireland and a new Forestry Strategy);
- Organisational development and communications;
- Process improvement (to look at forestry licensing procedures).
The development of new Forest Strategy is a key commitment for Project Woodland and is due to be published in 2022.
The department will also develop a new Forestry Programme. The Forestry Programme and Forest Strategy will be screened for a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment and published plans will be subject to statutory consultation.