“Growing the Irish Forest Bioeconomy”. This is the title of a report launched by the minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. The report, produced by the Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), on the contribution and potential of the forest sector in the emerging Irish Bioeconomy has been submitted to the Department of An Taoiseach (taoiseach means leader and is the prime minister of Ireland). This is part of the on-going process to develop a Government Policy Statement on the Irish Bioeconomy.
“There is no doubt – minister Doyle said – that the forest sector already plays a leading role in the emerging bioeconomy. However, there is very significant potential to advance our sector through the use of new wood products and building systems, as well as the rapidly emerging use of wood fibre across a range of innovative products that the report identifies. I therefore very much welcome this COFORD report, highlighting the importance of the forest sector in decarbonising our economy now and into the future”.
“Ireland has committed to a decarbonisation approach which involves carbon neutrality in the land-use sector without compromising food production. Afforestation is Ireland’s most cost effective carbon action in the land- use sector. The rate of carbon sequestration peaks at a relatively early age in fast growing tree species and early action will contribute to carbon goals”.
The bioeconomy concept has emerged as a concrete response to the global challenges of food security, energy security, climate change and the depletion of non-renewable resources. Virtually everything that can be made from fossil resources can also be made from biological resources. Substituting sustainably produced wood for fossil resources facilitates decarbonisation and continued economic growth. It also improves economic resilience and has a contribution to make to rural economies.