Written Answers. - Afforestation Policy.

269.

asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if the Government policy on afforestation remains at the target of 10,000 hectares annually, as established in the 1958 Government White Paper Five Year Programme for Economic Expansion; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

An annual national planting target of 10,000 hectares is being maintained as an overall policy objective. However, it was decided in August 1982 that (a) for the purposes of achieving this objective, reafforestation and planting of privately-owned land should be taken into account; and (b) pending an improvement in the land reserve situation in relation to State-owned lands and an acceleration of private forestry, an annual State planting programme, including reafforestation, of the order of 7,500 hectares — to be augmented as much as possible by private planting — should be accepted as the most practical short-term policy for the next five years.

270.

asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (a) the present size of the State forest estate; and (b) the estimated size of the State forest estate in 1990.

The current stocked area of the State forest estate comprises some 316,000 hectares. Depending on a number of factors, including the level of funds provided each year, the intake of plantable land etc, it is hoped that the area in question would reach about 365,000 hectares by the end of the decade.