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Green Belt Blog (86)

Thursday, 19 November 2015 17:22

170 acres Farmland for sale in Galway

REA Hynes in Athlone are bringing 170 acres of farmland to auction.

The date set is December 8th, 2015 with an AMV of €699,000.

Green Belt does not have any direct interest in this parcel of land other than seeking to plant and manage the lands on behalf of the new owner.

The land is not approved for forestry, but if approved would be subject to a full planting grant and premiums of €35,000 per annum for 15 years. These figures are subject to change and approvals from the forest service etc.

full details are to be found here

Thursday, 12 November 2015 11:04

Farmers must act on 'off kilter' emissions

Tom Arnold believes more forestry required if ag sector wants to maintain national cattle herd. Read More
Adam Cullen, Farming Independent. Published 11/11/2015


Farmers have been warned to stop 'codding' themselves into thinking that their lower-than-average greenhouse gas emissions will save them from any limits on expansion in the future.

By 2020, the EPA environmental watchdog has estimated that industries, including agriculture, will be releasing 6-11pc more carbon than allowed under the national emissions ceilings.

Based on current trends, farming will be responsible for 45pc of those emissions in Ireland, with transport the next most important sector.

"Somebody is going to pay for this, and it's time for us to be honest," said Tom Arnold, the former Concern chief executive-turned-boss of the Institute of International and European Affairs. "Agriculture is not going to get a freepass on this, even if Irish producers are among the most carbon efficient in the world. TOM ARNOLD

"There may have to be a trade-off between the size of the national herd and the forestry sector in the medium to long-term future to allow Ireland to become more sustainable," said Mr Arnold, who addressed the ICOS sustainability conference in Dublin.

"Obviously trees consume carbon and cows emit it. At the moment, the balance between the two is off kilter." The warning comes as Bord Bia yesterday launched new 'green' targets for the country's multi-billion euro agriculture industry.

Bord Bia claimed Ireland's beef industry could become the most carbon efficient in Europe, while generating an additional €300m on-farm income a year. The analysis claims greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture could be slashed by 6pc, or a million tonnes of carbon if sustainability measures on the lower-performing beef and dairy farms reached the national average.

Currently Ireland's dairy herd has the joint-lowest carbon footprint in the EU, while the beef herd is ranked at number five.

Global Discussions have been intensifying ahead of world leaders meeting in Paris next month to strike a global deal on curbing emissions over the coming decades.

Mr Arnold said that the industry needed to start analysing the numbers behind the latest growth plan in Food Wise 2025 for the food sector.

"We are not going to be able to cod ourselves on this," he added. He also stressed the importance of delivering higher genetic merit animals to reduce emissions.

"That should be the priority before adding to numbers. We can make great strides through better breeding programmes and that has to be a priority," he said.

Eddie Punch, the ICSA general secretary, said there was a compelling case to maximise production of beef and dairy in Ireland as it is a sustainable grass-based system.

Mr Punch said that grass also sequesters carbon but it was often "ignored" in the debate. Both Harold Kingston, the IFA's environment spokesman, and the ICMSA's John Comer argued that simply reducing emissions to cut production would be counter productive as it would be produced in less efficient areas.

Mr Arnold warned that the environmental issues go beyond the farm gate, and processors and retailers also have a role to play. He added that incentives would have to be put in place to ensure farmers invest in biomass crops such as forestry.

Former ESRI Economist John Fitzgerald said the odds are "stacked against farmers" who want to grow biomass crops.

Mr Fitzgerald said there was "no simplistic" answer but a system was needed that benefitted both farmers and the environment.

"We need more biomass carbon-consuming production. Do we need to reduce our cattle numbers for that? It is much too early to tell. We need more research," he said.

Indo Farming

Monday, 19 October 2015 14:47

Budget 2016 - Positive for Forestry

Budget 2016 has been favourable towards forestry as we predicted.

Timber and forestry income has been removed from the High Earners restriction, meaning there is no limit to the annual earnings that can be received from timber earnings in a year. The implications of this are that commercial and silvicultural issues will impact on the harvesting decisions.

Harvesting and particularly clearfell harvesting, is the most valuable occasion in the lifetime of a commercial forest. Therefore, the news is very welcome. Similarly, the Capital Acquisitions Tax has remained the same, offering a 90% relief on agricultural transactions - the threshold has increased to €280,000 also.

From the planting side of things, there habeen almost €114 million dedicated to establish a further 7,000 hectares in the 2016 season and to provide for 120 km's of roadways into Irish forestry.

 

Contact your local forester to learn how forestry is an excellent pension and income option for you.

Monday, 05 October 2015 16:51

Good News For Timber Harvesting

Bord na Móna has announced that it will no longer harvest energy peat

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 08:40

Budget windfall for forestry

Measures in the budget will encourage more woodland planting. In an article taken from the Irish Independent

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 10:33

Global Forest Loss reaches 46 million acres

Global forest loss amounted to 18.7 million hectares (46 million acres) in 2014, a decline of about 9 percent relative to 2013 Read More and 20 percent compared to 2012, according to data released today by a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and Google.

The much-anticipated data, published this morning on Global Forest Watch, a platform for mapping ‘big data’ related to forests, reflects changes in tree cover, including deforestation, harvesting of tree plantations, fire damage, and forest die-off from disease and pests. It will be used by analysts, policymakers, conservationists, and others to track progress — or lack there of — on efforts to conserve forests ahead of November climate talks in Paris, where forests are expected to play a major role in the development of an emissions mitigation framework.

The data, which does not include forest gain including reforestation and forest recovery, reveals some interesting trends including persistently high forest loss in boreal regions — where most forest loss is linked to logging, fires, and beetle outbreaks — and the tropics, which is dominated by outright deforestation, typically for pasture, agriculture, or plantations. Among the planet’s biomes, the tropics accounted for the largest share of loss at 10 million hectares in 2014.

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Data from Matt Hansen and colleagues presented via Global Forest Watch. Prepared by Mongabay.com.
Data from Matt Hansen and colleagues presented via Global Forest Watch. Prepared by Mongabay.com.
Data from Matt Hansen and colleagues presented via Global Forest Watch. Prepared by Mongabay.com.
Data from Matt Hansen and colleagues presented via Global Forest Watch. Prepared by Mongabay.com.

The usual suspects topped the 2014 list: Russia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and the United States. But coming in at number six was the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which surpassed a million hectares of forest loss for the only time in the 14-year data set. Annual forest loss in the Central African nation has roughly doubled since the early 2000s, according to the data.

Both Brazil (a 317,000 ha increase or 16 percent relative to 2013) and Indonesia (350,000 ha / 31 percent) showed significant increases in forest loss in 2014 after sharp drops the prior year.

The most significant one-year declines globally occurred in Russia (1.7 million ha decline representing a 33 percent drop compared with 2013), Canada (732,000 / 26 percent), and the U.S. (257,000 ha / 15 percent).

The biggest one-year increases in forest loss among major forest countries occurred in Cameroon (66 percent increase), Cote d’Ivoire (53 percent), Malaysia (48 percent), Papua New Guinea (47 percent), and the Philippines (40 percent).

0902_top_increase

0902_top_drop

In a blog post on World Resources Institute’s site, the researchers pointed out some other notable hotspots, including spikes in forest loss in the Mekong region, especially Cambodia, for rubber plantations; the Gran Chaco in Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia for cattle and soy production; and West Africa, the Congo Basin and Madagascar for small-scale agriculture, industrial oil palm plantations, and logging. They note that Madagascar — a country that doesn’t have much forest left to lose — lost almost two percent of its total forest cover in 2014.

Nigel Sizer, head of WRI’s Global Forest Watch, called the findings “alarming”.

“This analysis identifies a truly alarming surge in forest loss in previously overlooked hotspots,” said Sizer in a statement. “In many of these countries, we’re seeing accelerating clearing associated with commodities such as rubber, beef, and soy, along with palm oil. To slow this forest loss, we need improved forest governance to prevent illegal clearing, more balanced land use planning, and greater demand from major importers and trading countries for sustainable commodity production.”

Forest clearing for palm oil production in Riau on the island of Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
Forest clearing for palm oil production in Riau on the island of Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Global Forest Watch is supporting those goals by radically improving transparency around forests, which is fostering greater accountability in the forestry sector. Planned features — including more accurate and timely data, incorporation of tree cover gain, and better analysis of tree cover dynamics that could distinguish between deforestation and other types of forest cover change — will make it ever more difficult to carry on with business-as-usual approaches that are decimating global forests.

“Data can help,” write the blog authors, including Sizer, WRI’s Rachael Petersen, the University of Maryland’s Matt Hansen and Peter Potapov, and Google’s David Thau. “As the world of forest information gets richer, everyone from government officials to researchers to everyday citizens can get more involved helping monitor and manage our forest resources.”

Lowland rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Lowland rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Article published by Rhett Butler on September 2, 2015.

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