Forest Industries Ireland (FII), the new trade association for the forestry and timber industries officially launched on Monday 14th.
Almost all the major forestry and timber companies in Ireland are members of Forest Industries Ireland, a new business sector within Ibec.
They are drawn from across the industry and include all the largest timber processors as well as companies involved in the establishment and management of forests.
The industry is forecasting major growth in the coming years as the supply of raw material from Irish forests will double in the period 2017-2035.
There are 2,852 forestry owners in County Cork, with total employment in the forestry sector in the county estimated at 1,395 people.
Stemming from this the industry estimates the doubling of industry’s combined turnover from €800 million today to €1.6 billion by 2035.
The creation of an additional 6,000 rural jobs on top of the 12,000 jobs already driven by the industry.
21,000 forest owners who supply the raw timber product as well as the many timber contractors and hauliers that harvest and transport it to the sawmills will earn an estimated €6.4bn which is a further boost to rural economies of which €724M will be earned in Cork.
Today, forests cover 11% of Ireland’s land area. The ‘gamechanger’ for the industry is the fact that timber output from Irish forests is set to double between now and 2035 which will double industry output – because of our climate trees grow fast in Ireland.
Mark McAuley, Director of Forest Industries Ireland, said: “Ireland has a natural competitive advantage in forestry and timber. Our forests are delivering more and more timber to our sawmills and the construction products they make have a strong and growing market in the UK and Ireland. The industry will continue to grow and provide more jobs in rural areas. We forecast it will double in size by 2035. All the while, our forests are absorbing millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and providing great recreational sites for everyone.”