Rhetoric On Forestry At COP26 Belied By Net De-Forestation In Ireland And Consistent Failure To Meet Afforestation Targets

In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, highfalutin rhetoric about protecting forests at the COP conference was, in Ireland’s case, “deeply hypocritical” and “seriously contradicted by recent government figures  that show net de-forestation in Ireland and abject failure over many years to meet afforestation targets and radically reform a failed forestry model.”

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Government figures show clearly that 5 times more trees are being cut down than are being planted in Ireland and that this pattern is consistently replicated year after year.

“Afforestation licences for only 3418 hectares had been issued whereas, felling licences for 22,736 hectares had been issued over the same period. This ratio has been similar over the last number of years.  In 2020, 4,342 hectares for afforestation licences were issued while 18,241 hectares were allowed to be felled.  In 2019 the figures were 4346 hectares (afforestation) and 57197 hectares (felling).

“It’s clear that the markets for selling timber rather than the need to expand our forest estate is dictating forestry policy and the actions of the state forestry company, despite the stated government aim to increase forest cover from the current 7% of our land to 17% by 2030.”