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Andrew Doyle, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, opened the ‘Talking Hardwoods’ event, in the Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, today.

Speaking at the opening of the event Minister Doyle said that “The incorporation of the Native Woodlands Establishment Scheme into the main Afforestation Scheme seeks to encourage the planting of native woodlands as part of more commercial forests. The latest forest inventory indicated that broadleaved forests represent 25.8% of our national forest cover. This is a very significant proportion of our forests, both in terms of area and potential value.”

The ‘Talking Hardwoods’ is a hardwood marketing event and is organised by the Teagasc Forestry Development Department. The event brings together broadleaf growers and users of hardwood timber.

The Minister of State also commented “The production of good quality timber depends on good management of broadleaf plantations. It is vital that broadleaf owners follow an active and appropriate management regime for their forest plantations.”

The Minister also encouraged those in attendance “to find out more about the options available, to seek advice and make contacts and hopefully, bring away the knowledge you need from this ‘Talking Hardwood’ event to make an informed decision on how to proceed, whatever stage your forest is at. This will be a unique opportunity for timber growers and the industry to participate in the development of the hardwood market”.

The Minister commented that the planting of broadleaves has been encouraged under the Forestry Programmes over the last number of decades with the current proportion of broadleaves the outcome of those efforts and highlighted that “The national target for broadleaf planting is 30% and this will be achieved through higher grant and premiums for broadleaf species which my Department is providing.”

The Minister concluded by thanking Teagasc, for organising the event, and the industry representatives and speakers for their support of the initiative.

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