Forest research for 21st century Ireland - Meeting society’s needs.

  • Eugene Hendrick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Keywords: Forest research, forest policy, forest products and standards.


Forest research has a solid track record in Ireland, going back to the 1950s. The scope of forest research has expanded in the intervening years, due mainly to a growing awareness of the environmental role and impact of forests. As new forest establishment is funded largely by the state, forest research needs to play a strong role in supporting and obtaining a return on national investment. Forest research meets society’s needs when it contributes to policy aims being met, insofar as the policy goals are well established and articulated. The general purpose is to provide guidance to policy makers and practitioners through scientifically-based, timely and well communicated information. Forest research has a significant time dimension, which needs to be recognised in funding arrangements, expertise and application of results. A weakness of project-based funding is the difficultly in providing for continuity of expertise and information transfer. To address this issue, research programmes dealing with well-defined areas could be funded on a recurring basis, subject to performance, and based in third-level or existing national research establishments. Continuing and assured investment (state and private) in research is necessary to grow, harvest and process wood and other forest products in a sustainable and competitive way. Gross expenditure on research and development in Ireland in 2008 was €2.6 bn, or 1.68% of GNP. In the same year total investment in forest R&D was €11.2 million, or 0.57% of the GNP contribution of the sector. Investment in research and development in the forest sector, therefore, lags well behind the rest of the economy. Effective dissemination of research findings to policy makers and practitioners is of fundamental importance to nationally-funded programmes. Meeting society’s needs through the uptake of forest research outputs occurs in three main areas: policy, practice and products, and standards.
How to Cite
Hendrick, E. (2010) “Forest research for 21st century Ireland - Meeting society’s needs.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: (Accessed: 28June2022).
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