The farm forest resource in Ireland: opportunities and challenges for rural development in Ireland
Author: Farrelly, Niall
Source: Small-scale Forestry, Volume 6, Number 1, March 2007 , pp. 49-64(16)
Abstract:A critical mass of farm forestry and private forestry is now developing in Ireland with over 211,000 ha planted since 1980, with 190,000 ha of this planted since 1990. Currently, 90,000 ha of private forests are over 10 years of age, with 41,000 ha over 15 years of age. This paper examines the potential of the farm forest resource in Ireland and highlights some issues that need to be addressed in order that the full potential of farm forestry is realised. It is estimated that 876,000 m3 of timber is currently available from forests through removals from thinning operations from plantations that are at or have passed first thinning age. Cumulative volume output from thinning could be as high as 1.9 M m3 by 2010 increasing to 5.9 M m3 by 2015. Farm forestry has the potential to be a financially important farm enterprise with 15% of farmers (16,460) currently engaged in forestry in Ireland. The development of volume production forecasts will provide crucial supply information for gearing up of the wood-processing sector for additional volume from farms. However many enterprises face high harvesting and extraction costs. Solutions to overcoming economies of scale due to the small size of plantations (averaging 9.2 ha) are proposed using methods to group forestry operations together. The network of small sawmills throughout the country is favourable for private growers as analysis indicates that 82% of private forests are within 32 km of a sawmill and efforts to stimulate local processing are being encouraged. Financial analysis indicates that farmers can increase forestry returns by thinning their plantations. The risk of windthrow to plantations is one of the major factors that can lead to financial losses in farm forestry in Ireland and can be reduced by adequate management planning. A series of forestry extension programs will provide farmers with adequate information to help aid decision-making in managing their plantations.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: March 2007