Coillte, the semi-state forestry company, announced a new forestry strategic vision which aims to deliver multiple benefits from its forests and bring more focus to climate action, setting ambitious new targets on biodiversity and recreation, while continuing to deliver for the forest and wood products industry. The new approach aims to sustainably balance and deliver the multiple benefits from Ireland’s state forests across four strategic pillars: climate, wood, nature, and people. Coillte intends to consult widely with key stakeholders on its new strategic vision.
Among the actions that Coillte proposes to deliver as part of this new forestry strategic vision are:
Coillte is responsible for the management of 440,000 hectares of Ireland’s forests, which represents 7% of the country. Since its establishment in 1989, it has enabled the development of a vibrant forestry and wood products sector that supports rural employment throughout Ireland. While sustainability has always been central to the way in which Coillte manages the forest estate, Coillte believes that the growing climate and biodiversity crises, as well as societal demands for housing, jobs and wellbeing, are driving a need for greater change.
A Red C survey conducted for Coillte in 2021, shows that the company’s view on the need for change is supported by public opinion, with 84% of respondents believing that Coillte has a role to play in meeting Ireland’s climate action commitments; 82% saying biodiversity is important for Ireland’s future; 82% believing forestry is an important sector in the Irish economy; and 86% agreeing that wood producing forests are important.
Over the coming weeks Coillte will engage extensively with key stakeholders and the public, to seek their views on its forestry strategic vision, to ensure it is aligned with the needs of Irish society. This consultation process will further inform the development of Coillte’s detailed strategic plans over the coming months.
Bernie Gray, Chairperson, Coillte, said, “This marks an important day for Coillte. Over the last few years, we have been exploring ways in which Coillte can play an increasing role in Ireland’s climate action and biodiversity agenda, while recognising that financial sustainability is integral to Coillte achieving its purpose, so that the multiple benefits from our forests and land for the people of Ireland can be delivered.”
“I’m delighted that Coillte’s new strategic vision emphasises climate action, biodiversity and aims to increase development of wonderful recreation spaces for people to enjoy while continuing to deliver sustainable wood products to support building new homes.”
Imelda Hurley, Chief Executive, Coillte, said “In the face of the climate emergency, there is an urgent need for Ireland to meet stretching climate action targets and we recognise the critical role which Coillte can play in the achievement of these targets. We are delighted to communicate our new forestry strategic vision for Coillte, one which is rooted in science and is focused on optimising the multiple benefits from forestry across the entire estate. We have developed a comprehensive strategic vision that, among other things, would see us growing new forests, managing our existing forests for greater carbon capture, delivering valuable wood products, enhancing biodiversity, and creating more incredible recreational spaces for the enjoyment of our citizens and tourists.
“Having outlined our ambition, we will now commence a series of consultations with key stakeholders and the public on our new forestry strategic vision, ensuring that our ambitions for both the existing Coillte estate and new forests under management are aligned with the needs of society.”