Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.45 20 Jun 2019


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The State forestry body Coillte has said a new not-for-profit arm will focus on recreational forests, and opening more of them up to the public.

'Coillte Nature' will target the delivery of new woodlands for species and biodiversity.

It will also see the conversion of certain commercial Coillte forests to recreational ones.

Its first project is the Dublin Mountains Conversion.

For over 10 years, Coillte has seen visitor numbers climb to over 600,000 per year - making these forests some of the most visited outdoor attractions in the region.

Due to their proximity to the city, nine forests account for the vast majority of visits to the Dublin Uplands: Ticknock, Barnaslignan, Carrigolligan, Kilmashogue, Ballyedmonduff, Massey's Wood, Hell Fire, Cruagh and Tibradden.

These are currently managed on Coillte's forest planning systems as commercial forests, but Coillte is to convert them to recreational.

Pictured at the announcement of Coillte Nature were (left to right) Gerard Murphy, managing director, Coillte land solutions, Minister of State for Forestry Andrew Doyle, and Bernie Gray, Coillte chair | Image: Julien Behal Photography

Conversion will involve a mixture of continuous cover forestry (CCF), removal of commercial species and replacement with non-commercial native tree species.

The project is being jointly funded by Coillte and the three Dublin local authorities, with grants being provided by the Department of Agriculture.

The company wants to advance its sustainability agenda by undertaking large projects with a non-commercial focus.

These will increase the national forest estate, but with a strong emphasis on carbon sequestration, species diversification, biodiversity and the development of outdoor recreation and tourism amenities.

Coillte's chair is Bernie Gray: "Coillte's focus is to drive a strong commercial performance and at the same time provide a valuable environmental and social dividend to society at large.

"Our decision to establish Coillte Nature fits perfectly in this regard.

"This is a very significant and timely initiative which is naturally aligned with the Government's focus on climate action."

"Coillte Nature, which has been set up on a not-for-profit basis, will have a strong focus on carbon sequestration, species diversification, biodiversity and the development of forestry recreation activities."


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Ballyedmonduff Barnaslignan Bernie Gray Carrigolligan Coillte Coillte Nature Cruagh Forestry Body Forests Hell Fire Kilmashogue Massey's Wood Recreational Forests Ticknock

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