Donal Whelan, Forestry Manager
I’m a forestry manager and what foresters do in Ireland is we’re responsible for everything from the planting of young forests, to the tilling, the management, and then the final felling of the forests. From the felling and thinning of trees, we get raw material for our forest industry which is now very important in Ireland. In fact, it now accounts for almost 1 percent of our GDP. We have about 10% of our land area in total under forest. The European average is about 36% and there is huge potential in Ireland to grow more forests – trees grow faster here then they do in most of the developed world, so we have huge potential here and it’s a huge area for green expansion. I think that forestry and forestry jobs will grow in the future.
The best part of my job is getting to work outdoors and getting to work with nature. In forestry we are planting and promoting biodiversity. Trees themselves capture and lock in carbon helping to abate our climate change. Also, we produce renewable energy which is good for the environment.
The actual act of planting every year is creating jobs and then the management of woodlands, and the felling and the tilling creates jobs in the processing sector. Employment has improved because we have been planting more - every year we are planting between 6 and 7,000 hectors. At the moment there’s between 16,000 and 20,000 people employed in forestry and the timber industry. I believe that is set to grow in the future as long as we can maintain our planting program.