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Offaly woodland walks project receives funding

Offaly woodland walks project receives funding

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Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, has announced the results of an Open Call by her Department for funding for Woodland Support Projects. 

One Offaly project has received funding. The Call was aimed at promoting the multi-functional benefits of forestry from recreational, environmental, community and economic uses and will be funded by her Department over the next two years.

Over 61 applications were received of which 39 individual projects have now been selected for funding. In Offaly, the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) in association with the Irish Forestry Unit Trust (IForUT) received €11,460 for a joint initiative to establish Demonstration/Exhibition Woodland Walks in the county.

The Minister said, “I am delighted to see such a broad range of inspiring projects aimed at supporting woodlands and I am particularly pleased at both the spread of projects throughout country and at seven of those chosen highlighting the environmental benefits of woodland. 

"This was a category I specifically added to this year’s Call and it is gratifying to see that it was so well responded too. Overall, I believe the response demonstrates that there is a huge interest in communicating the benefits of our woodlands, in enhancing our knowledge of sustainable woodland management and in progressing the development and use of timber products.”

The projects will develop the knowledge base of farmers, woodland owners and the wider sector about the benefits of forestry, they will advance timber development, they will support native woodlands and agroforestry, and they will engage the wider community with trees as a source of enjoyment, inspiration, and biodiversity.

Minister Hackett had originally allocated funding of €1 million to the Woodland Support Fund but on receipt of the proposals, she increased that figure considerably.

Explaining the increase, she said “Given the response to this Open Call and in order to fund as many  projects as possible, I was more than pleased to increase the available budget to €1.4 million. I did not wish to see any worthy project left behind and really look forward to seeing them being rolled out and to what they can achieve.”

The projects selected will support woodlands through a variety of approaches. They include, for example, a series of forestry webinars; field workshops on Continuous Cover Forestry; promoting the use of homegrown timber for construction; the sourcing and planting native trees in GAA club grounds nationwide; woodland open days; ecological restoration, and awareness raising through multi-media, targeted promotional/educational initiatives to develop the potential of agroforestry in Ireland and many others besides.

The Minister concluded: “The publication of the EU forestry Strategy last week highlighted the diverse benefits which our woodlands can play and this open call aligns very much with that approach. I want to thank all those individuals and organisations for taking part and we look forward to working with the successful groups on the implementation of their projects over the next two years."

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