Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (516)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

516. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department has made calculations of the land that is not under grass that might be available for conversion to tillage or agroforestry without the loss of soil carbon. [37602/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is committed to mobilising the LULUCF credits as outlined in the All-of-Government Action Plan for Climate Change. These credits provide a means to assist the agricultural sector to contribute to Ireland's ambition on climate action. This flexibility should not be seen as an offsetting proposal but rather, as an effort to broaden the “toolbox” of abatement options available to achieve targets, in particular for Ireland where existing abatement measures are costly and action in the LULUCF sector, that encourages removals and limits emissions, presents a more cost effective option.

Mobilising these credits will require the combined efforts of forest, cropland and grassland management. The Teagasc MACC outlines the specific types of actions explored to date and this does not presently include agro forestry options or cropping options on ‘new’ agricultural areas.  The forestry analysis carried out in support of the MACC was based on trees planted at conventional stocking i.e. lands converted to 100% forestry.

Agroforestry is defined as widely spaced trees on grassland or cropland and my Department provides funding for agroforestry under the afforestation scheme as one of a suite of options but take up by landowners has been limited to date.