Coillte plants 15 million trees annually, enhancing environment and sustaining forest products business.

Coillte is marking its partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland in National Tree Week, the annual celebration that acknowledges the valuable role trees play in our lives, with the donation of 15,000 trees for planting by local community groups and schools across Ireland.

Since its partnership with the Tree Council on National Tree Week began almost a quarter of a century ago, Coillte has donated over 400,000 trees to support the initiative.

In total, Coillte will plant approximately 15 million trees in Ireland again this year as part of its continuous investment in the forests of Ireland. The trees will play a vital role in Coillte’s forest products business and will also significantly enhance the Coillte estate for the benefit of all users.

David Gunning, Chief Executive of Coillte, commented:

“The 15,000 trees planted to mark National Tree Week will, over time, become part of their surroundings, enriching the environment, storing up carbon and giving people places to enjoy nature. These trees are representative of the more than 15 million trees that Coillte plants annually as part of a continuous cycle of replenishing Irish forests for commercial, recreational and environmental purposes.

“Coillte manages 1 million acres of land, the vast majority of it under forest. These forests get over 18 million visits each year and we always encourage members of the public to come out and enjoy this resource.”

Planting trees to restock and replenish the forests is a vital link in the forest life cycle and allows Coillte harvest the high quality timber it uses to manufacture Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSC) export oriented products such as Medite MDF and SmartPly OSB in its own factories in Ireland.

Medite Europe, part of Coillte’s Panel Products Division, is the leading producer of MDF and reached a significant production milestone in 2011 with 7 million m3 of panels produced in its Clonmel factory since it was established in 1983. Over the period 2007 to 2010 Ireland was the largest exporter of medium density fibreboard (MDF) to the UK.

In addition, SmartPly Europe in Waterford, also part of Coillte Panel Products, has manufactured over 4 million cubic metres of Oriented Strand Board (OSB), a structural panel board used in construction, since it was set up in 1996.

This amounts to a total of 11 million cubic metres of timber panel products produced in Ireland from Irish timber with an estimated value of €2.5 billion. With 90% of these products exported €2.25bn worth of timber panel products have been shipped from Ireland over the life of these plants to markets all over the world.

Coillte also supplies logs to the Irish sawmill sector which itself has become much more export focused. Over the period 2000 to 2010 the volume of sawn wood exported by the Irish sawmill sector increased by 227%.

Coillte’s forests are internationally recognised as responsibly and sustainably managed, and Coillte is celebrating 10 years of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. This certification has become increasingly valuable as awareness has grown of the importance that timber and timber based products are sourced from forests which are managed in accordance with strict environmental, social and economic criteria.

National Tree Week continues until the 9th of March. Further details are available on:

www.coillte.ie

www.treecouncil.ie

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