As of Friday 26th March, the Department has issued 814 forestry licences in 2021. This is 18% of the target of 4,500 that will issue this year. The number of forestry licences issued this year is almost 20% higher than the same period last year.
I remain hopeful and confident based on these figures that target of 4,500 will be met in the remainder of the year notwithstanding that it will be an enormous challenge to reach those targets. In overall terms, when compared with end-March last year, Q1 2021 has resulted in:
- Afforestation decisions are down 12% but the area approved is up 14%
- Forest Roads decisions up 81% and length up 125%
- Felling decisions are up 37%, volume is up 53%
- The full end of quarter figures will be outlined in the next Forestry Dashboard.
There is considerably more work to do and the implementation of Project Woodland in collaboration with stakeholders remains a key political priority for me. We are continuing to invest in resources and reform our processes and procedures to improve our licensing output.