Irish forestry boom sees funding and partnerships emerge

3 Feb 2017

Image: trezordia/Shutterstock

A double move in Wicklow has seen €90m invested into forestry management, alongside a new initiative to invest a further €112m into the industry.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has been quite active today (3 February), revealing two initiatives to support the forestry industry in Ireland.

Firstly, a €90m fund has been created as a support for forestry-related investment in Ireland, with expected benefits to last two decades.

The money will be used to finance the cost of planting, forest management, and forest road construction and maintenance by Coillte over the next four years.

More than 35,000 hectares of trees will be replanted and more than 1,600km of forest roads will be constructed and upgraded. The scheme will also improve maintenance of 1,000km of walking routes and mountain bike trails.

“Ireland has some of the best and fastest-growing forests in the world, and unlocking new investment in forestry is crucial for rural economic growth, employment, and to support sustainable landscapes and renewable resources,” said Andrew McDowell, VP of EIB.

Meanwhile, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) is partnering with EIB in a new initiative, with plans to support €112m of new investment in privately owned forests across Ireland.

Pan-European forest investment fund Dasos is at the centre of the agreement, with EIB (investing €28.5m) and ISIF (investing €55m) hoping the rest of the money will come from other investors as the initiative progresses.

“Over the coming years, the Dasos Ireland forestry fund intends to help overcome diverse challenges faced by a fragmented industry, and revitalise forestry in rural communities,” said Dr Olli Haltia, CEO of Dasos.

“Working with both Irish and European partners, I am pleased to launch the first operations in Ireland by Finnish-based pan-European forest investment fund Dasos.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic