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Outlook for Forestry Sector

The contraction in the domestic economy since 2007, especially in the housing market, has adversely affected timber output.  This has impacted on the sawmilling and wood-based panel sectors which experienced further declines in output in 2009, although the decline was less than in 2008.  However, there are signs of recovery from mid 2009.  While imports of sawn wood fell by c. 44% from 412,000 m3 in 2008 to 232,000 m3 in 2009, largely due to reduced demand in the domestic economy, sawn wood exports increased by 45% from 389,000 m3 in 2008 to 564,000 m3 in 2009.  This was largely due to increased demand in the UK as a result of a reduced supply of Scandinavian timber and the ability of Irish sawmillers to adapt to changing market conditions.  Since early 2010, the euro has fallen in value against sterling and this will help timber exporters to maintain competitiveness in the UK market, where housing construction is showing signs of recovery.

The increasing use of wood biomass in renewable energy sector is providing private forest owners with a long term sustainable market for wood, especially for small diameter logs and harvesting residues from early thinning operations.