With almost 5.5pc of the total land mass of Kildare afforested those who invested some 15 to 20 years ago are now set to reap a bonanza, according to SWS Forestry, one of Ireland’s leading forestry companies.
Padraig Egan, Area Manager for Kildare, speaking following the company’s annual strategy meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim last week, said the early planted part of the National estate is now in the timber production phase and returning attractive dividends to these pioneers.
“Those who took the longer term view will now see their investments returning dividends. Not alone has the land value increased but they are now set to reap up to €10,000/ acre from the timber crop once timber production commences,” he said.
Egan said that the sector is still in its infancy and has a lot more to deliver.
“We must capitalise on this extraordinary natural resource to build a sustainable industry that will keep on delivering to farmers, investors and the wider community.
“For example, while the concept of using forest residue to produce heat and power is relatively new in Ireland it is well tried and tested in Europe.
“Ireland has some of the best tree growing conditions in Europe, with an annual growth rate almost three times that of Finland where the energy use from biomass is 18% compared to Ireland’s 1.3%.”
The further development of the harvesting and thinning sector presents a whole new opportunity, according to Egan.