Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (337)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

337. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of forest estate here that is single species conifer and native broadleaf plantation, respectively; the breakdown of the two plantation types between publicly owned and privately owned forests, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22748/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The National Forestry Inventory gathers information on tree species composition within Ireland’s forests. In 2017, 23% or 157,589 hectares of the stocked forest area was comprised of single species conifer stands. In terms of ownership, 62% of the single species conifer stand area is publicly owned and the remaining 42% privately owned.

A relatively high proportion of native tree species are present in the national forest estate, occupying 26.6% of the total stocked forest area or almost 178,981 hectares. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of these native tree species are in private ownership and the remaining 36% in public ownership.

It is worth noting that the mid-term review of the Forestry Programme 2014 to 2020 resulted in higher grant and premium rates been introduced to encourage more broadleaf and diverse conifer planting. The minimum mandatory requirement per site has been increased from 10% to 15% broadleaves. These changes have resulted in the proportion of broadleaves planted in the afforestation programme rising from 21% in 2016 to 27% in 2018.