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Ireland's National Forest Inventory

The purpose of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) is to record and assess the extent and nature of Ireland’s forests, both public and private, in a timely, accurate and reproducible manner to enable the sustainable development of our forest resource. Reliable, current and consistent information is required to inform domestic forest policy, to support forest research and fulfil national and international reporting commitments.

In order to assess changes in the state of Ireland’s forests overtime, Ireland’s NFI was designed using permanent sample plots which facilitated a repeat measurement programme. This robust reporting strategy has been adopted to provide credible information to address strategic objectives and reporting commitments of the Forest Service.

The NFI is a detailed periodic survey of permanent forest sample plots based on a randomised systematic grid sample design. A grid density of 2km x 2km   provides enough forest plots to achieve a national estimate of volume with a precision of +- 5%, at the 95% confidence level. This grid density equates to 17,423 points nationally, each representing approximately 400 ha. Each circular NFI sample plot measures 25.24 metres (m) in diameter, comprising 500 m², and is permanent in nature to allow future re-sampling on them.

Between 2004 and 2006 the Forest Service carried out the first National NFI of Ireland’s forests, with results published in 2007. The 2006 National Forest Inventory (NFI) was the first statistical and multi-resource inventory carried out on the national forest estate.

The field data collection element of a second NFI was carried out between late 2009 and year end 2012, with data analysis and results generation completed in 2013. During this second NFI, all forest sample plots were re-assessed which not only provided current estimates for forest attributes but also allowed direct comparison with the previous NFI 2006 results.

Changes in the forest estate between first and second assessments will facilitate the monitoring of sustainable forest management, in particular it will provide information in relation to growing stock, harvest levels, deadwood, species composition, plant diversity, forest health and carbon stocks. The carbon resource has proven to be of pivotal significance in Ireland achieving its Kyoto target under the first commitment period of 2008-2012.

For further information, please contact:

Name Position Address Contact Details
Mark Twomey Team Member Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,
Clogheen,
Clonakilty,
Co Cork.

Tel. 023 8836222 Mob. 087 278 6095
Email: mark.twomey@agriculture.gov.ie

John Redmond Team Member Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
Tel. 053 9160215 Mob. 087 995 6782
Email: Johnj.redmond@agriculture.gov.ie