Forestry is a vital resource for the Irish economy. The forestry sector contributes €2.3bn to GDP annually and employs 16,000 people. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine estimates that the full economic value of the forest sector was €2.3 billion in 2012. Forestry is the largest outdoor recreational activity in Ireland, with over 18 million visits to Irish forests per year.
Ireland possesses some of the most productive forests in Europe, with yields up to five times greater than northern European countries. Irish forests currently produce 3 million tonnes of timber per year with numerous uses for wood products. In 2013, exports of forest products from Ireland were valued at €339 million, a 12% increase on 2012. By 2020, the annual production of timber from Ireland will be 6 million m3. Demand for timber outstrips supply by 1.7 million tones.