Irish Government launches tree strategy

The Irish Government has published its first ever nationwide strategy to identify the most suitable areas to plant thousands of trees and create thousands of jobs.

Minister for forestry and fisheries Tony Killeen said: "This will become a key tool in developing a new strategic approach at both national and local level.

"I am convinced that forestry will become a cornerstone of sustainable rural development for the future as traditional land-use patterns change."

Forestry was worth over €1.5 billion (£1.4 million) to the economy annually and generated 16,000 jobs, he said. Experts forecasted this could rise to nearly 40,000 by 2025, added Killeen.

The strategy, called the Indicative Forestry Statement, includes maps that pinpoint areas most suitable for the creation of the new woodlands.

"They are the culmination of a major effort by the forest-service department, which drew up a series of maps for every part of the country.

"They show the opportunities and constraints that exist for trees in those areas. Data have been gathered from national parks and local authorities. This is the first time this type of information has been brought together in this fashion."

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