December 15, 2015
Forestry key to Ireland’s Climate Commitments
The role of forestry in reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions is set to become even more central to government policy following the recent Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, forestry is recognised as an absorber of carbon, potentially offsetting carbon emissions produced by the agricultural sector, which generates a third of Ireland’s greenhouse gases.
The Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine estimates that new forests planted since 1990 have removed a net 16.98 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the period 2008-2012. In addition, the use of wood as fuel or construction material replaces more carbon-intensive products derived from fossil fuels. The Government has committed €482 million to increasing Ireland’s forest coverage to 17% by 2035 through the new Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. Some €113.8m will be made available under the Forestry Programme in 2016, making forestry an attractive investment.
Ireland possesses some of the most productive forests in Europe, with yields up to five times greater than northern European countries. Over 19,000 Irish landowners currently benefit from the stable income provided by forestry, a sector that contributes €2.3bn to GDP annually. Budget 2016 also introduced two new taxation measures to improve forestry income. Premiums of up to €249 per acre for 15 years are now available under the Government’s new forestry scheme.