Sustainability of Irish forestry – current status and future prospects.

  • Kenneth A. Byrne Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
  • Thomas Legge Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London SW1Y 4LE, United Kingdom.
Keywords: Timber production, forest sector, sustainable forest management.


Irish forestry is currently undergoing rapid expansion and it is government policy to increase the forest area to 1.2 million ha by 2030. This is intended to enable the forestry sector to achieve 'critical mass' in terms of timber production and to have an internationally competitive processing sector. However it is also recognised that forestry should maximise national wellbeing and be compatible with protection of the environment. Growing public awareness of, and concerns about, the non-timber benefits and impacts of forestry have led to the concept of sustainable forest management. Criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management have been developed and these can be used to measure progress. This paper reviews the recent economic, social and environmental performance of Irish forestry. It considers future sustainability under a business-as-usual scenario and identifies possible opportunities and threats. It concludes by identifying policies and measures that could lead to a more sustainable future for the forestry sector.
How to Cite
Byrne, K. A. and Legge, T. (2008) “Sustainability of Irish forestry – current status and future prospects.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: (Accessed: 22July2024).