The annual supply of Irish roundwood is predicted to increase 68% by 2035, according to a new study by the Council of Forest Research and Development (COFORD).
The Wood Supply and Demand on the Island of Ireland to 2030 study was compiled by the wood mobilisation and forecasting group under the direction of the COFORD Council.
The report provides the supply and demand for wood fibre on the island of Ireland over the medium term to 2030.
The document is an updated version of COFORD’s Supply and Demand on the Island of Ireland to 2025, which was published in 2018.
In 2021 COFORD projected that the annual potential roundwood supply will increase from 4.7 million cubic metres in 2021 to 7.9 million cubic metres by 2035.
The study notes that while the projected supply is “steadily increasing”, the supply-demand position shows a continued shortfall in the supply of roundwood to the sawmill sector, reaching 0.5 million m3 per annum by 2025.
“This shortfall is likely to be met by imported certified roundwood for processing in Ireland,” the report said.
The authors said that good demand “offers encouragement to those forest owners who will be bringing sawlog to market over the coming decade”, subject to market conditions.
Launching the report Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Senator Pippa Hackett said:
“I’m delighted to see a predicted two-thirds increase in our wood supply by 2035. These trees to be harvested by 2035 have been planted under successive state-funded forestry programmes.
“The new €1.3bn forestry programme increases annual payments up to 66% and extends them to 20 years for farmers. This is a great opportunity for farmers to supplement their farming enterprise by planting trees while mitigating climate change,” she said.
“This comprehensive report brings together the best available information from the 2021 All Ireland Roundwood Production Forecast, and demand assumptions based on inputs from the wood processing sector,” the minster added.
“The strong demand for our home grown timber resource offers encouragement to forest owners around the country who will be bringing sawlog to market over the coming decade.
“An added benefit of this timber production is that when sawlog is converted to boards for structural timber or other wood-based materials, these can store carbon and displace extractive, carbon-intensive materials, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” Minister Hackett said.