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Minister Wallace Announces Opening Of Forestry Schemes

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with responsibility for Forestry, has today announced the opening of a suite of Forestry Schemes: a revised Forest Road Scheme, the Reconstitution of Woodlands Scheme, the Shaping of Broadleaves Scheme, the Woodland Improvement Scheme and the High Pruning of Conifers Scheme. The Minister said that these Schemes were part of the 2007 - 2013 Afforestation Programme, which will be funded by the exchequer, in respect of which State Aid Approval was received from the EU Commission late last year.

Announcing the opening of the schemes Minister Wallace emphasised the host of opportunities now available to landowners to support both afforestation and the management of established forests. These latest schemes are directed particularly at existing forest owners to provide support in improving access to forests, restoring forests, shaping broadleaves, pruning conifers and overall improving the growing forests, many of which were planted twenty years ago and are now ready for thinning, thus providing good income for farmers from both wood processing and wood energy.

Minister Wallace said she was very pleased to be able to open this package of schemes. This further demonstrates the Government's long-term commitment to forestry as a positive force within the farming community, the economy as a whole and of course in the very important area of climate change. Speaking about the Government's special conference hosted last week dedicated to 'an Irish sustainable Energy Sector' she said "The Government's National Climate Change Strategy sets out a clear role for forestry in mitigating climate change, not only in terms of carbon sequestration, but also in the role that the forest estate will play in providing renewable wood energy".

The Minister urged landowners to look afresh at all opportunities for planting part of their land in 2008. "It has never been a better time for landowners to consider forestry given the current emphasis on the environmental benefits of forestry and also the growing market for renewable energy" she said.

Date Released: 18 March 2008