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Minister Wallace views implementation of Thinning Protocol

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for forestry, visited the farm of George Lacey in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny yesterday to see at first hand the thinning of a 15 year old forestry plantation under the new Thinning Protocol being finalised by the Forestry Development Association.

The thinning is part of a project undertaken by the Forestry Development Association (FDA), with funding from the Department of Agriculture and Food, to produce and publish a detailed step-by-step guide for forest owners in relation to thinning. The Protocol will outline all the steps necessary to undertake an economical and efficient thinning operation within a typical farm forestry context.

Minister of State Wallace commented "small scale farm plantations need innovative solutions to the problems of economy of scale and the development of this protocol will act as an in industry template for the sustainable management of farm forests in Ireland". The Minister of State added "While efforts are ongoing to encourage farmers to plant forestry, it is also important that encouragement and guidance be given to those farmers who have already planted to maximise the return from their crop and this project will help in that process". Minister of State Wallace had previously noted, during a visit to a Coillte research site earlier in the year, the importance of thinning forests in order to improve the quality of the timber produced at final harvest.

The Protocol is currently undergoing a peer review process and it is planned to publish the final document in December.

27 October, 2006

Date Released: 27 October 2006