Minister urges action to protect woodland and forests

A Government minister has made a pledge to try to encourage Irish businesses to do more to protect the forests of the country.

During the 5th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, held in Warsaw, Mary Wallace, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, agreed that official organisations and relevant businesses would work to safeguard the forests of Ireland.

As part of the process, the ministers worked with the European Commission and a broad range of policy stakeholders representing industry and environmental groups.

They discussed future forest policy and other emerging issues relating to implementing sustainable forest management, both nationally and at a regional level.

Speaking at the conference, Ms Wallace said: "From the commitments we will be signing today, it is clear that the participants in this Pan-European process recognise the current challenges for forestry in relation to climate change, energy supply and water protection.

"By signing up to these commitments we are ensuring that forestry issues are considered and integrated into our own country's governmental policies on sustainable development."

A recent report in the Irish Independent newspaper suggested that the destruction of Irish woodlands by businesses was partly responsible for the decline of the native red squirrel.

James Cooper



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