Prices for forestry land in Ireland remain strong, the latest agricultural land study has revealed.

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers’ (IPAV) agri survey found that investors are increasingly opting to plant on marginal lands traditionally used for grazing, with younger farmers more interested in the quality of land and are willing to “migrate” to other parts of the country.

Despite the fact that Brexit and other economic difficulties make the future of the Irish forestry and agriculture markets difficult to predict, there have been promising signs of of growth.

John Earley of Property Partners Earley, Roscommon, reported a pick-up since last autumn. He said there has been high demand for marginal lands of over 40ac for forestry, with prices achieved in the €4,000-5,000 region.
In the south, agri consultant Mike Brady of Brady Partners, Cork, said prices are static in all areas except forestry, which has seen a rise.

Irish farmers are also being attracted to forestry land through a new form of sustainable forest management called ‘continuous cover’.

Continuous cover is an approach whereby forest stands are maintained in a permanently irregular structure, which is created and sustained through the selection and harvesting of individual trees, and appeals to farmers who are keen to get income from land not suitable for growing crops or feeding farm animals.

“There is about 4,000 hectares of forest managed by the continuous cover forestry principles in the private sector. These are people who are more aware of the environment, who want a steady income stream from their woods, and who don’t want to clear fell their own forests. Some of them have also experienced the continuous cover forestry principles while living abroad,” explains Paddy Purser, forester and chairman of ProSilva Ireland.

While still a new concept in Ireland, this approach is standard practice in many parts of Germany, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark and some parts of France, Belgium and Austria.

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