Pro Silva Ireland is part of Pro Silva Europe, a 27 country European network (and New England) of professional forest owners and managers, who practice close to nature forest management in permanent forests.
The Pro Silva Ireland Forestry policy prioritises the need for long term, permanent mixed species forestry that is both ecologically and economically sustainable.
It endorses the Close-to-Nature continuous cover professional forest management systems that have been developed and practiced in European countries since the mid 20th century.
Pro Silva Europe originated in Slovenia, a country that has a long history in permanent forest management. Sixty percent of Slovenia is permanently forested, and it makes up 60 percent of its GDP, even though clear-felling is illegal there. Close to Nature forest management harnesses the strength and vitality of natural systems to optimize forest growth and regeneration while sustainable selective felling is practiced to generate income.
The Pro Silva Ireland forest Policy addresses the following main issues:
1. Forests should be permanent and managed in concert rather than in conflict with nature.
2. A broader base of silvicultural systems, including Close-to-Nature systems, should be available to and utilised by Irish foresters and forest owners.
3. New forests are necessary in Ireland in order to sequester carbon, regulate climate, provide indigenous energy and timber resources, enhance biodiversity and provide new recreational areas.
4. Native woodland areas should be strategically protected and restored with strategic new linkages.
5. Forest management systems and forest policy should be refined to optimise this important function of carbon sequestration.
6. The capacity for forests to produce timber, a sustainable natural resource, is of great importance and creates employment while sustaining a wide range of industries, from craft to industrial, across rural Ireland.
7. An all Ireland deer management policy should be developed which leads to sustainable deer numbers and profitable stalking and venison sectors.
8. Sustainable forest management is dependent on adequate forest access for timber harvesting, extraction, other management and recreation and funding for the development of access in private forests is essential if private forestry is to develop sustainably in Ireland.
9. Both governments, north and south, should adopt a certified forest products procurement policy whereby all paper, timber and other forest products purchased by or for government and government agencies is certified.
Pro Silva Ireland launched its Forestry Policy document in Wicklow on Saturday 24 April 2010 at its Forest Open Day at Cloragh Farm, Co. Wicklow.
To download the full policy click here