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Good Progress on National Forest Inventory Project

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for forestry at the Department of Agriculture and Food, noted with satisfaction the progress being made on the National Forest Inventory Project.

A briefing on the Project has been organised for representatives of the forestry sector in Portlaoise on 20th April 2006, and the Minister said that this marked an important milestone in the National Forest Inventory and would present an opportunity for the forest industry to hear, at first hand, an account of the project and to get an indication of likely findings.

Fieldwork on the National Forest Inventory commenced in November 2004 and will conclude in the autumn. By that time, close to 1,800 sites representative of the national forest estate will have been visited. "The project will provide us with valuable information on the forest estate in terms of its volume, composition and vitality", said the Minister. "This information will provide us with the means to calculate the volume of timber in our forests among other things and will feed into Ireland's carbon accounting figures as part of the Kyoto protocol", she added.

The Minister welcomed the interest shown in the briefing and said she anticipated a constructive discussion on the project. The Inventory will provide accurate information on the entire forest estate - both private and public - at a national level. In addition to the usual silvicultural data, details on biodiversity and plant health are also being gathered at each site.

The Minister also took the opportunity to refer to the wealth of data on the nation's forests stored in her Department and the potential for this data to provide strategic information at regional and local levels. "I will be exploring ways of making best use of this data to meet industry needs while respecting privacy and confidentiality at the individual level", she said.

19 April, 2006

Date Released: 19 April 2006