Ireland for many generations has been successfully growing timber for various uses.
In the last few decades, timber was grown for commercial use. In the late 60s early 70s chipboard started to be used in the building industry and Irish timber was ideally suitable for mulch and use in this process.
We also exported substantial amounts for similar purposes in other European countries. It was only with awareness of climate change did timber start to be looked at as a renewable source of energy.
Nowadays, timber is prized as a renewable, recyclable natural resource that is beautiful, versatile and characteristic of the land that produces it.
Ireland boasts has an array of native and plantation forests that have produced remarkable timbers for generations past and will supply many generations to come.
Timber is not only a renewable and recyclable resource, but it is energy-efficient to produce. Importantly, timber acts as a carbon store, giving it a key role to play in reducing carbon emissions.
When sustainably produced, timber offers multiple ‘values’ to Irelands: environmental, social and economic.
Nowadays we are using we are starting to burn a lot of timber as a source of home heating. Stoves have become a very popular source of heat. A small industry has been created in the manufacture and sales of stoves and also replacement stove parts and stove glass. But to Produce this amount timber in a sustainable way requires long-term planning. Coilte has tasked with this planning and has done so successfully for a number of years.
Timber production is a renewable land-use that is undertaken in forestry plantations and natural multiple-use forests across Ireland. Quite often forestry is planted in the less well-off area and is a good source of income to the local economy.
Managing forests for timber is a cyclical process that involves the harvest and regeneration of forests on a continuing basis. Every time a tree is harvested up to ten trees are re-established in its place. As the trees regrow they seek more light and space and natural competition gives rise to some trees becoming dominant over overs.
Thinning, be it natural or mechanical, provides space for growing trees and plays a key role in maintaining forest health. By the time a forest reaches maturity only a small percentage of the original trees will have survived. When some or these trees are harvested and the renewable cycle begins again.
The world’s climate and its forests are intrinsically linked. Forests are an important component of the global carbon cycle, playing multiple roles in addressing climate change. In Ireland production forests and wood product industries contribute to long-term carbon emissions abatement in numerous ways, including:
capturing and storing atmospheric carbon in growing forests
protecting forest carbon stores from damaging wildfires
providing long-term storage of carbon in durable wood products
providing a renewable substitute for much more emissions-intensive building materials, such as steel, aluminium and concrete
replacing carbon-intensive fossil fuel sources such as coal, oil and gas with bioenergy from wood waste and forest thinnings and harvesting residues.
Many timber products also undergo a significant phase of recycling, further extending the carbon storage.
Forests that produce wood also produce many other benefits. Wood-producing native
forests are specifically managed for