Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, today formally launched the final report and recommendations of the Forestry Policy Review Group, entitled ‘Forests, Products and People – Ireland’s forest policy – a renewed vision’, in Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
A Forest Policy Review Group was established by the (then) Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in April 2010 to review State forestry policy to take account of its critical role in relation to climate change and its importance to construction, bio-energy, bio-diversity and its potential to deliver long-term employment in other downstream industries such as eco-tourism, furniture, crafts etc. The Group, which comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, met on a number of occasions in the period 2010 to 2012, with the review process also consisting of an open call for submissions and workshops.
Welcoming the Report of the Group, Minister of State Hayes acknowledged the contribution and input of the members and those who made submissions to the process. He added “The outcome of this review, in the form of this wide-ranging report and many recommendations, is a milestone in the development of the policy framework for the forest sector. As Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, I am pleased to launch this report as the forest sector makes a significant contribution at national level. I believe that the sector has enormous potential to further contribute to the economic, environmental and social development of the country into the future. I welcome the report as a means to assist in achieving this potential.”
Commenting on the wide-ranging Report, which consists of 13 Chapters covering all aspects of the forest sector and 7 Appendices, the Minister of State noted “The title of the Report ‘Forests, Products and People’ flags the comprehensive nature of the review. The wording of the strategic goal also sums up what the aims of a modern forest policy should be – that is ‘To develop an internationally competitive and sustainable forest sector that provides a full range of economic, environmental and social benefits to society and which accords with the Forest Europe definition of sustainable forest management’.”
Minister of State Hayes outlined some of the recommendations in the Report in his speech, including those relating to expansion of the forest area, ensuring sustainable management of national forest resource, environmental considerations and cost effective mobilisation of the forest resource. He concluded by saying that “The review is an important document that represents a consensus view among a wide range of forest sector stakeholders, and therefore merits very serious consideration. Already it has been considered in formulating our national forestry programme, and we are in the process of conducting further analysis of the recommendations.”