Maximising the Irish forest resource for timber growers

Euroforest Ireland is a major new company formed to mobilise wood and maximise the Irish forest resource for timber growers

Timber production on the island of Ireland is forecast to double from four million tonnes in 2016 to eight million by 2035. Log volumes will continue to increase as the sector pays dividends on the Irish Government’s investment of some €3 billion in the establishment of a forest resource, this investment was matched by landowners – mainly farmers – through their commitment of land to the establishment forests.

A major challenge for the forestry and forest products sector will be the mobilisation of timber to an industry where most of the processed product is exported. Independence in the supply chain between the grower and the timber processing industry, with expertise in timber harvesting and marketing is essential in maximising the Irish forestry resource.

Euroforest provides this independence in the UK and where it currently harvests in excess of two million m3 of timber annually, by far the largest company of its kind in these islands. Eastlog/Forwood Forestry who have provided a similar role in Ireland have now joined forces with Euroforest to form Euroforest Ireland Limited with the new company’s headquarters located in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

“Our goal is to replicate the Euroforest business model in Ireland which has proven successful in the UK, benefiting forest owners and allowing the forest industry to expand,” said David Symons, chairman. The current experienced team of forest managers Mark Hogan, Marcus Hanbidge and Stephen Sheridan will be led in Ireland by Jim Hurley who has been appointed Managing Director.

“Jim along with his colleague Mark Hogan each have over 35 years’ experience in the forest products industry principally in the harvesting and marketing field where they are highly respected,” he said. “Jims’ views on the potential of the private forest sector are well known to the wide range of stakeholders who have dealt with him in the timber processing, harvesting and marketing sectors.”

He said Euroforest Ireland is determined to ensure delivery of a harvesting and marketing service to ensure maximum financial returns from thinning and final harvest to forest owners, now mainly farmers. “Using a bespoke IT system developed over the last 25 years Euroforest Ireland will be equipped to demonstrate full transparency to its clients ensuring long-term confidence in our ability to provide a high quality service.”

The company is currently recruiting both professional forestry staff to service and expand its nationwide client base and administration staff to the head office at Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

Minister Andrew Doyle has welcomed the development.

“Since my appointment as Minister with responsibility for Forestry I have been keen to highlight all aspects of forestry production, from planting to management of the growing plantation, to thinning and clearfelling,” he said.

“Mobilisation of timber at the right time can have an enormous impact on output. Timber output is predicted to double by 2035 and with 50% of total output to come from private owners, so it is vital that forest owners are fully aware of the potential value of their asset. To that end companies like Euroforest, who offer a range of management and marketing expertise will become important stakeholders in this important indigenous sector. As a company who will be based in Co. Wicklow I wish them well in the future”.

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