The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Tom Hayes, has announced the publication of a concise booklet detailing the main findings of Ireland’s second National Forest Inventory (NFI).
“The second National Forest Inventory, undertaken by staff in my Department, gives us accurate, up-to-date information about the extent and changing nature of Ireland’s forests.
“This vital information will enable the sustainable development of our national forest resource. I am also pleased to note that this booklet is in a very accessible easy to read format and will be distributed widely within the forest industry,” he said at the launch.
The Junior Minister pointed out that “our forests play a pivotal role in carbon sequestration. The NFI has been crucial in documenting the contribution of our forests in achieving Ireland’s Kyoto target.
“Without Ireland’s forests the first Kyoto commitment period target (i.e. 2008 to 2012) would not have been met,” he said.
“Of particular interest to me is the large uptake in private thinning since 2006, with an extra 20,000ha thinned. We are finally beginning to realise the potential of our state supported afforestation schemes; the resulting enhanced thinning volumes represents an increasing source of raw material for the processing sector, a valuable source of revenue for private owners and a source of additional employment in harvesting, transport and downstream processing,” said Deputy Hayes.
The inventory involved a detailed nationwide field survey of Ireland’s forests. The survey assessed composition, condition and change in the entire national forest estate, both public and private.
The information encompasses the traditional parameters such as area, growing stock and species composition in the national forest estate as well as information with regard to biodiversity, health and vitality, carbon content and soil type.
Changes in our forests can now be assessed for the first time through comparisons with the initial NFI, completed in 2006.