Thursday, 19 January 2023
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Micheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
The size of the fund will be about €200 million. The fund aims ultimately to own a total of 12,000 ha of forest. This is what I have been informed. This equates to roughly 1.5% of our total existing forest estate. Of those 12,000 ha of forests, roughly 3,500 ha will be new forests, which the fund hopes to plant over the next five years. That is an average of 700 ha of new forests per annum for each of the next five years, out of an existing annual target of 8,000 ha per annum.
The remainder of the 12,000 ha purchased by the fund will be existing forest. The percentage impact of this particular initiative by Coillte is relatively low. We want other models to be developed to drive the overall forestry agenda. In particular, we want exponential growth in the number of trees we plant every year.