Record low afforestation licenses issued last week in 2021!

Department of Agriculture Issues Record Low Afforestation Licences, Raises Concerns for Forestry Sector

Last week, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine saw a notable decline in the issuance of afforestation licences, marking the lowest number issued in any single week this year. This information comes from the Social, Economic, Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA), which highlighted that only five afforestation licences were issued by the department for the week ending on Friday, April 5. Throughout the previous month, the figures for afforestation licences issued each week varied, with numbers ranging from as low as six to as high as 11. SEEFA expressed disappointment at the department’s handling of the situation, criticizing the lack of accountability and a clear plan to address the ongoing issues.

According to SEEFA, the decreasing number of afforestation licences being issued has led to landowners questioning the viability of forestry as a land use option. Foresters are facing challenges in maintaining their livelihoods, while the broader community in Ireland is missing out on the economic and environmental benefits that afforestation can bring. The group emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that current afforestation targets are far from being met.

In addition to the five afforestation licences issued last week, the department also granted seven licences for forest roads construction, covering a total of 1km of roads. Furthermore, 21 licences were issued for private felling, and seven licences were granted for Coillte felling activities. These figures include a mix of licences for thinning and clear felling, bringing the total number of felling licences issued to 28. Despite the challenges faced, the number of afforestation licences issued in April shows improvement compared to the same month in 2023, when no afforestation licences were issued.

As of the latest data available, 128 afforestation licences have been issued in the current year out of 183 valid applications. The approved licences cover an area of 961 hectares, surpassing the total figure for all of 2023. Alongside afforestation licences, there have been 305 licences issued for private felling, 219 for Coillte felling, and 260 licences for forest roads construction in the year to date. This brings the total number of forestry licences, across all types, issued so far this year to 912.

Moreover, there have been 118 approved applications to the Native Tree Area Scheme in 2023, accounting for 122 hectares. In terms of other forestry-related schemes, there have been 290 approved applications to the Reconstitution of Ash Dieback Scheme, covering 1,086 hectares; 55 approved applications for the Deer Tree Shelter Scheme, accounting for 218 hectares; and 24 approved applications to the Woodland Improvement Scheme, covering 141 hectares. The forestry sector continues to face challenges, and stakeholders are calling for greater support and action to address the current issues.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

Leave a Replay

Scroll to Top