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8th May 2020 | Agriculture, Community, Press Releases

Greens reiterate call for new model of forestry as we move forward

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Green Party representatives around the country have been contacted by concerned citizens from Leitrim to Monaghan and beyond who are worried about the widespread use of the insecticide cypermethrin to treat infestations of pine weevil.

A widely used insecticide, cypermethrin is used to treat ectoparasites, which can occur in farm animals, companion animals, and also in arable crops and in some forestry settings. The large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) continues to be an ongoing parasite for the coniferous forestry sector in this country, particularly on restock sites awaiting replantation, where this weevil can persist for years on the clear felled land.

Green Party Senator and Spokesperson on Agriculture, Pippa Hackett states: “Unfortunately this is reflective of one of the problems with single species production – the lack of diversity makes such infestations much more likely, and this in turn necessitates a dependency on external inputs, usually in the form of chemical interventions.

“We are calling on Coillte and other foresters to continue to explore non-pesticide based management controls, and biological controls such as nematodes.

“The huge amenity value of forests and woodlands cannot be discounted either, and the users of such plantations should not be put at risk either.

“Rather than restocking a clear fell conifer site with more conifers, it would be prudent and in the interests of Coillte and other foresters to begin the transition to a different forestry model, towards a continuous cover model using native trees.

“The Green Party’s “Close To Nature Forestry” motion received cross party support in the Dáil last October, so we already have the support of most politicians to change the approach to something with both community and farmer support.

“Communities impacted by forestry in Ireland have highlighted the need for a change in our afforestation model. Farmers themselves would appreciate a more flexible approach to planting.

“In light of the Covid crisis we must endeavour to reintroduce diversity into all elements of agricultural production, and forestry is no different.”