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Local farmers have a growing interest in agroforestry

September 7th, 2015 11:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

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BY JACKIE KEOGH

LANDOWNERS in West Cork are pioneering agroforestry.

Eugene Curran, who is the district forestry inspector in West Cork and South Kerry, said three landowners have established a number of trial plots that combine agricultural practices with the production of trees.

Eugene explained that the landowners are essentially multi-tasking by growing trees, using their land for silage, and rearing sheep.

The Department of Agriculture are so enthusiastic about this new initiative that they are supporting a Field Day on September 9th that will involve a visit to each of the three plots.

The first port of call will be Alan Kingston in Skibbereen, followed by a visit to Christoph Eisele in Ballydehob, and ending up at Liam Beechinor’s in Dunmanway.

The forestry inspector told The Southern Star that there is a European-wide trend towards agroforestry because ‘it is so productive and it offers landowners tremendous flexibility.’

The Department of Agriculture is also keen to promote the initiative and have rowed in with a grant.

Essentially, the grant covers the planting costs, as well as an annual premium of €260 for five years.

Eugene said: ‘The purpose of the new agroforestry initiative is to encourage the planting of more trees because our level of tree cover in Ireland is the second lowest of all the EU members.

‘We are even trailing behind Holland and are only marginally ahead of the lowest, Malta. In Ireland, the level of tree cover is approximately 11%, which has consequences for the sustainability of the timber industry, as well as significant environmental implications, and our carbon footprint.’

BY JACKIE KEOGH

LANDOWNERS in West Cork are pioneering agroforestry.

Eugene Curran, who is the district forestry inspector in West Cork and South Kerry, said three landowners have established a number of trial plots that combine agricultural practices with the production of trees.

Eugene explained that the landowners are essentially multi-tasking by growing trees, using their land for silage, and rearing sheep.

The Department of Agriculture are so enthusiastic about this new initiative that they are supporting a Field Day on September 9th that will involve a visit to each of the three plots.

The first port of call will be Alan Kingston in Skibbereen, followed by a visit to Christoph Eisele in Ballydehob, and ending up at Liam Beechinor’s in Dunmanway.

The forestry inspector told The Southern Star that there is a European-wide trend towards agroforestry because ‘it is so productive and it offers landowners tremendous flexibility.’

The Department of Agriculture is also keen to promote the initiative and have rowed in with a grant.

Essentially, the grant covers the planting costs, as well as an annual premium of €260 for five years.

Eugene said: ‘The purpose of the new agroforestry initiative is to encourage the planting of more trees because our level of tree cover in Ireland is the second lowest of all the EU members.

‘We are even trailing behind Holland and are only marginally ahead of the lowest, Malta. In Ireland, the level of tree cover is approximately 11%, which has consequences for the sustainability of the timber industry, as well as significant environmental implications, and our carbon footprint.’

BY JACKIE KEOGH

LANDOWNERS in West Cork are pioneering agroforestry.

Eugene Curran, who is the district forestry inspector in West Cork and South Kerry, said three landowners have established a number of trial plots that combine agricultural practices with the production of trees.

Eugene explained that the landowners are essentially multi-tasking by growing trees, using their land for silage, and rearing sheep.

The Department of Agriculture are so enthusiastic about this new initiative that they are supporting a Field Day on September 9th that will involve a visit to each of the three plots.

The first port of call will be Alan Kingston in Skibbereen, followed by a visit to Christoph Eisele in Ballydehob, and ending up at Liam Beechinor’s in Dunmanway.

The forestry inspector told The Southern Star that there is a European-wide trend towards agroforestry because ‘it is so productive and it offers landowners tremendous flexibility.’

The Department of Agriculture is also keen to promote the initiative and have rowed in with a grant.

Essentially, the grant covers the planting costs, as well as an annual premium of €260 for five years.

Eugene said: ‘The purpose of the new agroforestry initiative is to encourage the planting of more trees because our level of tree cover in Ireland is the second lowest of all the EU members.

‘We are even trailing behind Holland and are only marginally ahead of the lowest, Malta. In Ireland, the level of tree cover is approximately 11%, which has consequences for the sustainability of the timber industry, as well as significant environmental implications, and our carbon footprint.’

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