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08 Aug 2022

Leitrim is county with highest percentage of forestry cover

Forestry

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According to the 2022 Forest Statistics Ireland report Leitrim is the county with the highest percentage of forest cover (20.1%) with 32,039 hectares now planted.

No public sector forestry has been planted in Leitrim since 2004 but the report notes that the rate of private forestry planting has declined in recent years dropping from 513 hectares in 2015 to 98 hectares in 2021. 

Last year 41 hectares of broadleaf forestry were planted in Leitrim and conifers accounted for 57 hectares of new planting.

The latest figures available for ownership of forestry planted in Leitrim show that in 2020, 11 farmers in Leitrim planted a total of 75 hectares and 9 non-farmers planted 84 hectares of forestry. 

Noting the decreasing trend in the area being afforested annually at a national level, the Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett said: “This is something that needs to be addressed and the work of Project Woodland will be key in establishing a way forward through the development of a new forest strategy and forestry programme. Incentivising the creation of new forests through our new forestry programme, which will come into place in January 2023, will be essential to meeting not only our economic objectives but also our climate change targets and our aims in terms of enhancing biodiversity.”

“Although afforestation was low last year, I am pleased that the proportion of broadleaves being afforested increased from 34% in 2020 to 41% in 2021. A similar increase occurred in the Native Woodland Establishment scheme operated by my Department, from 18.9% in 2020 to 29.6% in 2021.” 

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