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Minister Killeen Publishes Indicative Forestry Statement for Ireland

Mr Tony Killeen TD, Minister for Fisheries and Forestry has published the first Indicative Forestry Statement for Ireland.

The Indicative Forestry Statement or IFS identifies the areas of the country most suitable for the creation of new woodlands, primarily on the basis of environmental considerations and soil-type and productivity. The Minister said that the IFS is the culmination of a major effort by the Forest Service of his Department, who have created a comprehensive series of maps for every part of the country showing the opportunities and constraints that exist for forestry in those areas. The data has been gathered from such diverse sources as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the local authorities, and Teagasc and is the very first time that this type of information has been brought together in this fashion.

"The IFS will become a key tool in the development of a new strategic approach for forestry at both national and local level", Minster Killeen said. He expressed his hope that the new maps would highlight the real opportunities for forestry that exist in this country and encouraged County Councils in particular to look afresh at development opportunities for forestry as part of their own County Development Plans. "Ireland has a real competitive advantage in growing trees and I am convinced that forestry will become a cornerstone of sustainable rural development for the future, as traditional land-use patterns change", he said. Forestry is already worth well over €1.5bn to the economy annually, directly and indirectly generating employment for some 16,000 people. Analysis carried out as part of the 2005 Foresight Study suggests that there is capacity to increase this to nearly 40,000 by 2025.

The Indicative Forestry Statement can be found on the Forest Service page of the Department's website. The detailed datasets have been made available to all Registered Foresters and Forestry Companies through the Forestry Industry Mapping System (FIMS) and are available on request to public authorities and others interested in the strategic development of forestry in Ireland.

Date Released: 15 December 2008