Almost 19% of Leitrim land is under forestry

Almost 19% of land in County Leitrim is under forestry.

The overall figure nationally is 11%.

That’s according to Department of Agriculture statistics that will further boost the argument of anti-forestry campaigners that Leitrim has already more than its share of forestry.

As the acreage of land under forestry in Leitrim grows, so too is opposition to more planting.

Two meetings to discuss the issue will take place this week, one in Drumshanbo this evening, the other in Manorhamilton tomorrow evening.

Figures obtained by Ocean FM News from the Department of Agriculture show that there are more than 30,000 hectares in Leitrim are under forestry.

536 hectares were planted in 2017.

Fifteen per cent of all species planted during the year were broadleaves.

383 farmers in the county received a total of more than €2.3m in forest premiums in 2017.

The total volume of timber harvested in the county in 2017 is estimated at 141,000 cubic metres, of which 46,000 was harvested by private forest owners.

The value of the timber sold by private owners in County Leitrim in 2017 is estimated to be in the region of €1.2m.

Total employment in the forestry sector in County Leitrim is estimated at 565 people.

In Sligo, 11.4% of the land — almost 21,000 hectares — is under forestry, with 190 hectares planted in 2017.

The department figures show that nationally, forest cover throughout the country is estimated to be at its highest level in more than 350 years.