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McEntee highlights importance of Forest Owner Group

Shane McEntee, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, in his address to the National Forest Owners Group Workshop in Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon today, highlighted both the importance of mobilising the private timber resource and the significant role Forest Owner Groups can play in that process.

The National Forest Owners Group Workshop is an annual event organised by Teagasc, in association with the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, which is attended by forest owners from Forest Owner Groups throughout the country. Minister McEntee welcomed the representatives of the Groups, saying, "Forest owners play a vital role in sustaining the forestry industry - from making the decision to plant trees right through to selling the timber following thinning and, eventually, clearfell. I am highly aware that one of the challenges faced by the forestry sector is mobilising the private timber resource - that is, getting the timber from privately owned forests onto the market. I believe that forest owner groups can play a significant role in that process." He added "In recent years, a number of such groups have been formed throughout the country, in many cases with assistance and advice from the Teagasc Forestry Development Department. While the Groups are at varying stages of development and their purpose and focus may differ, the underlying principles are the same - to bring together forest owners in order to share their knowledge, experiences and resources and to market their produce".

He also commended Teagasc for its work in highlighting the importance of forest management and appropriate thinning. In relation to the importance of thinning forests, the Minister of State noted, "Thinning, where appropriate, is a means by which an owner may improve the end value and quality of his or her timber crop and managing the thinning process effectively can provide an additional income source for farmers and landowners. So thinning is about maximising timber production and income for the forest owner, with potential to provide an interim source of income at the thinning stage. I encourage forest owners to investigate and to call upon expert, professional advice if necessary".

Date Released: 18 September 2012