Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
446. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken and his plans to deal in a sustainable manner with the significant amount of timber left in situ following forestry clearfell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9046/19]
It is general practice that the majority of logs are removed from harvesting sites following clearfell as felled timber is a valuable commodity for forest owners and managers. Indeed, log prices have remained high throughout 2018 with standing timber prices for the first nine months of 2018 up by 34% for Coillte Teoranta and 20% for private sales over the same period in 2017. Thus forest owners and managers have a significant incentive to move their harvested timber from the forest to the saw mill or timber processing factories so as to realise the value of their investment.
As my Department’s Code of Best Forest Practice and Forest Biodiversity Guidelines allows, some wood is generally left onsite following harvesting operations in the form of deadwood and older retained trees. Deadwood and old or veteran trees represent an important resource for biodiversity. Decomposing wood provides a habitat for numerous species of plants and animals which might otherwise be absent from the forest. A small amount of deadwood is normally left in situ after both thinning and final harvesting. Deadwood can be left in the form of standing dead stems or naturally fallen trunks if present or as logs deliberately left behind on the forest floor.