NI has the lowest tree cover in Europe. Trees are essential both to absorb carbon creating habitats and enhancing bio-diversity. Currently Government funding schemes for tree planting are almost non existent and generally go to large landowners. More support should be given to small woodland owners and citizens to plant in any spare patch of land. Planning approval is denied to woodland owners for wood processing facilities to carry out sustainable woodland management and this should be changed.
It appears that NI Forestry strategy from 2006 aimed to significantly increase rates of afforestation, repeated in the 2016-2020 strategy. However, although rates have increased since 2006 it is nowhere near what was originally aimed for. Given that these measures were particularly for flood management benefits and mitigating the effects of climate change, what are the obstacles to this being properly supported.
To the point about NI Forestry Strategy from 2006 it was also the intention that the increase in afforestation rates would be led by the private sector. Is this really a viable option?
There is clearly a real opportunity to develop this approach in Northern Ireland - and if it is a similar situation in the Republic of Ireland. The rates are low in Northern Ireland (8% as opposed to European average of 37%) - so plenty of room for improvement.
There is much that can be said about this but Not in writing!!!!
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