Minister Hackett launches Sustainable Development and Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources 2020-2030

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Publication addresses key challenges for sector including Climate change

Looks at how genetic resources and better use of seeds can contribute to forest capacity and adaptability

The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with responsibility for forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett, today launched Sustainable Development and Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources 2020-2030.

Welcoming the publication, which is prepared by members of the COFORD Council’s Forest Genetic Resources Working Group, the Minister said, “Forests are so important in the battle against Climate Change.  But they must be healthy, resilient forests.  That is why this report is so welcome.  It sets out a strategy to ensure factors such as genetic resources and the sustainable supply of seeds are mobilised to increase the adaptive capacity of our forests.”

The report is a strategy to ensure genetic resources are protected between 2020 and 2030 and sets out a sustainable pathway for the future.  It brings together a full appraisal of current and past efforts, the potential impacts of climate change and other risks, and the requirements for the development of forest genetics resources and for gene conservation.  It goes through the steps required for the genetic conservation of tree species and it also outlines the roles of those agencies and organisations involved in forest genetic resources as well as the importance of coordination and implementation.

Making the point that maintaining and ensuring the survival of our forests is absolutely critical, the Minister continued, “Forest genetic resources are integral to the successful development of our forests. Well adapted and carefully sourced  reproductive material, suited to Ireland’s soils and growing environments are the building blocks for the expansion of the forest estate and for its continual regeneration. They are fundamental to providing the long-term economic, environmental  and societal benefits that forests provide.”

She continued, “I would like to thank the members of the Forest Genetic Resources Working Group of the COFORD Council for their hard work in putting this publication together. The Group, comprising  a broad range of experts and stakeholders, is to be congratulated on reaching consensus on the future direction in forest genetic resources.”

Dr Eugene Hendrick on behalf of the COFORD Council welcomed the publication, while also acknowledging the dedication and hard work of the council’s Forest Genetic Resources Working group. He said, “The COFORD council and associated working groups provide a wide range of evidence-based advice which helps to inform forest policy. The report being lunched here today by the Minister  provides the roadmap for the creation of increasingly  well adapted, resilient and productive forests, and for the vital work in conservation of forest genetic diversity.  The Council looks forward to working with the Department and the forest sector on the recommendations outlined in this report.”

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