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Minister of State McEntee welcomes initiative to improve the quality of future broadleaf forests

Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has welcomed an initiative to further develop and improve the quality and productivity of future broadleaf forests in Ireland and Britain.

Minister of State McEntee, together with Ms Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Northern Ireland, formally launched the Future Trees Trust which is now a registered charity in both the UK and Ireland. The Trust incorporates the work of the British and Irish Hardwoods Improvement Programme, which has been active for several years in selecting the best broadleaf trees to provide the next generation of forests. It has over the years brought together many of Britain and Ireland's foremost experts in broadleaf tree improvement as well as practitioners from the forest sector. 

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State McEntee stated that he very much welcomed "the level of cooperation the British and Irish Hardwoods Improvement programme and now the Trust has been able to engender between scientists and practitioners in Ireland as well as the many institutions and individuals involved across England, Scotland and Wales". The Minister went on to emphasise the importance of ensuring a sustainable future for forestry and broadleaves in particular, commenting that “the ability of the Trust to select high quality trees across the two islands and use them as a basis for future planting is a major strength of the organisation. It also helps to share the cost burden of a long-term programme in broadleaf tree improvement. In the oak programme a number of seed orchards have been planted, including one in County Cork. The first batch of improved birch plants will be available later this year”. 

Minister McEntee also highlighted his own Department’s commitment to forestry, illustrated by the maintenance of a significant afforestation programme despite stringent budgetary conditions.  He continued "The afforestation programme has a very sizable broadleaf component: about 35% of all planting or about 7 million trees planted annually. These are the forests, the wood products - the oak beams and indeed the hurley sticks - of the future. The more we can use better adapted, vigorous and high quality planting stock, the better the quality of the wood resource we are creating, and the better the return to the land owner and the economy."

 

Note for editors

The Future Trees Trust, an initiative further develop and improve the quality and productivity of future broadleaf forests in Ireland and Britain was co-launched by Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Michelle O’Neill.

Pictured above:

(Left) Minister of State Shane McEntee, TD, and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Michelle O'Neill

(Right) John Fennessy (FTT) with Minister McEntee and Minister O'Neill planting tree

Date Released: 17 May 2012