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Hayes Urges Forest Owners to Attend Windblow Events

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, today welcomed the announcements by Teagasc and the ITGA that they are to run a number of field events to assist forest owners and practitioners to manage windblow sites. 

Recently the Minister visited several sites that were damaged by Storm Darwin in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, and Athea, Co. Limerick.  Minister Hayes said “As chairman of the Windblow Taskforce it is important for me to visit these sites first hand and to meet the private owners, Coillte, Teagasc and foresters on the ground to discuss the various issues that arise when owners are faced with windblow damage.  I was genuinely shocked at the level of damage I saw across the country side in west Limerick.  Some sites appeared to be a real tangled mess and I would urge everyone in the industry to put safety first when attempting to harvest in these areas. ” 

Minister Hayes added “I very much welcome Teagasc’s field events planned for 8th April in Mullinavat Co. Kilkenny and 16th April in Castleisland Co. Kerry focusing on the needs of those forest owners affected by Windblow and indeed I intend to be there myself.  Teagasc have teamed up with Coillte, the Forest Service of my Department and others to provide as much information as possible on these forest walks.  This will add considerably to the information already provided in the ‘Windblow Guidance note’ that the Taskforce issued recently”

In addition to these field events the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) is also holding an event, on the 11th April in Tullamore Co. Offaly, advising forest owners affected by Windblow on the marketing and sale of the timber.   Minister Hayes said “I welcome the work of the ITGA in the whole area of timber marketing and sales.  The ITGA have produced some excellent documentation and processes in terms of timber security for private owners and are currently finalising a Template timber sales agreement and this will be very useful to those forest owners who now find themselves in the position where they will be trying to sell their timber sooner than expected”

Minister Hayes added “This is a difficult time for forest owners who have experienced windblow and I would like to assure those that help and advice in dealing with the damage is available from their local Teagasc adviser or forestry consultant.  Alternatively email your query to windblow@agriculture.gov.ie .”

Note to editors

 

Storm force winds occurred on 12 separate days between the 5th December 2013 and the 12th February 2014.   This series of storms led to a large increase in rainfall on land throughout the country that was already heavily saturated. The most severe windstorm named ‘Storm Darwin’, occurred on the 12th February 2014 and was associated with an active depression off the south coast that tracked steadily north-eastwards over the country.

Generally, storm events in Ireland do not give rise to large scale damage in our forests. However, the frequency and ferocity of the recent storm events, compounded by waterlogged soils on many sites, has lead to extensive damage. While initial estimates put the area damaged at less than 1% of the total forest area (or up to 7,000 hectares nationally), locally the damage has been severe, with significant volumes of roundwood impacted.

 Windblow Taskforce

Stakeholders in the forestry sector have come together under the chairmanship of the Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, Tom Hayes TD, to co-ordinate a response to this storm damage. This group, the Windblow Taskforce, is currently engaged in the following activities:

  1. Estimate the area, volume and extent of the damage nationally;
  2. Make recommendations to address the many issues that will arise in relation to the windblow event;
  3. Make recommendations for the orderly removal of windblown timber from damaged forests.

 To deal with this windblown timber, it is important that forest owners and timber growers are aware of the various steps to take in assessing and planning the harvest of this timber.  The Windblow Taskforce has issued the following guidance note to assist forest owners in this process:

Guidance for Forest Owners with Windblow - 21 March 2014 (doc 48Kb) 

 

Added 28.03.14 

View Press Release as PDF: DAFMPR 44/2014 (pdf 642Kb) 

 

Date Released: 28 March 2014