And calls on the Government to urgently adopt a new form of continuous cover forestry.
The Green Party welcomed the comments from Minister Pat Rabbitte indicating that the proposed sale of Coillte forest harvest rights will not go ahead. Last weekend Green Party Leader, Eamon Ryan, Forestry spokesperson Cathy Fitzgerald, Environment Spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Noonan and other Green members joined with more than 4000 people at Avondale and the 47000 people who had signed online petitions against the sale of Ireland’s public forests.
Chief concerns for the Green Party was that public accountability for how our forests are managed would be lost and public access to our forests would be increasingly denied.
Green Party Forestry spokesperson, Cathy Fitzgerald says
“We welcome the news that the sale of Coillte felling rights looks increasingly unlikely as stated by Minister Pat Rabbitte this week. The government now needs to go a step further and steer Coillte onto a more sustainable path by advancing a move to continuous cover forestry.
“The model of forestry management is already well established in many European countries and is now being tried in 300 sites across Ireland under an ongoing COFORD Low Impact Silvicultural Systems study.
“Under this method trees are felled on a selective basis, allowing new saplings to grow up in sheltered spots that are created within the existing canopy. The new system has several clear advantages. It overcomes the significant soil fertility loss and diminishing productivity returns that comes with successive rotations of clear-fell forestry. It avoid the really big clear-felling and replanting costs and in the end it will give us a much better price for larger, older trees. The continuous cover forests will be more resilient to diseases and to climate change and will provide much greater biodiversity and recreational spaces for us all to benefit from.
“Rather than selling these precious assets the Government should be supporting new education and infrastructure for the forest industry to fully implement and realise the economic, environmental and social potential of Continuous cover forestry.” concluded Cathy Fitzgerald
For more information, Green Party Forest policy: http://www.greenparty.ie/assets/docs/GreenParty%20Forestry%20Policy%202012.pdf
COFORD Continuous Cover Forestry paper: http://www.coford.ie/media/coford/content/publications/projectreports/cofordconnects/CCF.pdf
Continuous Cover Forestry: http://prosilvaireland.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/close_to_nature_forest_management_paper_for_compass_magazine.pdf
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