Wallace: Forest protection is vital

It is vitally important that businesses in Ireland work to protect the country's forests, a Government minister has said.

Speaking at the opening of the National Forestry Conference, Mary Wallace, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said that sustaining the country's woodland areas was important for "economic, environmental and social" reasons.

The Minister added that recent modifications to the Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) would help businesses protect woodland environments.

"These changes to FEPS should provide a welcome boost to our planting figures," she said.

"The revised scheme has seen some changes, which will encourage the participation of holders of both smaller Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) farms and larger REPS farms, who will find added incentive to plant under FEPS."

In general, Ms Wallace stressed that farmers, foresters and farm planners needed to "work together to maximise the potential" for sustaining forests.

A recent report from the Government suggested that forestry was becoming increasingly important in Ireland as the country looks to develop "sustainable economic, energy, environmental and climate change policies".

James Cooper



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