The National Forestry Conference 2022 was held in Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co. Meath on the 11 th of October. The theme of the meeting was Non-wood forestry – Who benefits? Who pays?
Secretary of Irish Forest Owners, Olive Leavy, was invited to present at this conference on The role of forest owners in delivering non-wood benefits.
Almost half of the national forestry estate in Ireland is privately owned and the responsibility for these forests and how they are managed lies in the hands of the forest owner.
Two examples of the significance of the owners’ role illustrate this point.
- The decision taken by a farmer/landowner to transform some or all of their agricultural land into a carbon sink through afforestation or silvicultural management change is one of the most important steps that can be taken for climate change mitigation.
- There is biodiversity crisis. A lot of great work is also being done by many forest owners on promoting and protecting biodiversity, although most of this work is not been measured or quantified.
Forest owners recognise that more can and should be done to deliver these and other non-wood benefits of forestry. To achieve this, we need to place forest owners at the centre of the national conversation, develop a robust programme of engagement, support and education, and provide them with an economically viable model of forestry that supports all of its many benefits to society.