DAFM Greenlights 43 Forestry Licences in Record-Breaking Week!

"Sharp Decline in Forestry Licences Issued by DAFM Sparks Concerns Over Environmental Impact"

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has reported a significant decline in the number of forestry licences issued in the first week of July. Only 43 licences were granted during this period, representing a 42% decrease from the previous week’s 74 licences and a substantial 55% drop from the 95 licences issued in the third week of June. The Social, Economic and Environmental Forestry Association of Ireland (SEEFA) expressed concern over the situation, stating that June was already a disappointing month for licensing, and July is shaping up to be even worse. SEEFA highlighted the ongoing inconsistency in the licensing process throughout the year, making it challenging to track the Department’s activities accurately.

The government has set a target of planting 8,000 hectares of new forests annually to increase the national forestry area to 18%. SEEFA has called on the Department to provide an explanation for the failure to meet this target consistently. The latest forestry dashboard released by DAFM reveals that in the week ending July 5, 19 licences were issued for private felling, 11 for afforestation, 10 for roads, and 3 for Coillte felling. The afforestation licences granted in the first week of July cover 120 hectares of new forestry. This is a decrease from the 386 hectares licensed in June, which was already lower than the 526 hectares licensed in May.

So far this year, the Department has received 374 valid afforestation applications and issued 268 licences for a total of 2,238 hectares. The Forestry Licencing Plan 2024 indicates that 1,000 afforestation applications are needed to meet planting targets. According to the data, 808 hectares of land have been afforested up to July 5. The figures for afforestation planted in 2024 only include areas paid at the first grant stage this year, including those under the Native Area Tree Scheme (NTAS). Private felling applications have seen 487 submissions this year, with 582 licences issued. Coillte has submitted 814 felling applications, resulting in 388 licences being granted. The total number of felling licences issued this year stands at 970, covering 11,523 hectares.

Additionally, 470 licences have been issued for 172 kilometers of forestry roads up to July 5. The Reconstitution of Ash Dieback Scheme has seen 488 licences granted, relating to 1,809 hectares. Other schemes, such as the Deer Tree Shelter scheme (DTS) and the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS), have also received licences, with 171 DTS licences covering 681 hectares and 95 WIS licences for 440 hectares. The Native Area Tree Scheme (NTAS) has been allocated 258 licences for 282 hectares. The data underscores the challenges and fluctuations in the forestry licensing process, raising concerns about meeting the government’s ambitious planting targets.

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.

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