Protecting the Environment

Managing and protecting the environment is at the heart of what Coillte does.

Positively contributing to the environment and to communities is a core value for Coillte and something we take great pride in. Coillte manages nearly 7% of the land of Ireland and has a vital role and responsibility in managing that land sustainably.

Having forest certification of our forest estate demonstrates to stakeholders and customers that our natural resource management practices are economically, socially and environmentally responsible and they value that.

In 2011, following a thorough audit and assessment, Coillte had its certificate of Responsible Forest Management renewed for a further five year period up to 2016.

Coillte is committed to Responsible Forest Management (RFM) as the guiding principle by which we manage our forests. In practicing RFM we:

  • Develop our forests in a way that is environmentally sensitive, socially beneficial and economically sustainable;
  • Choose to independently verify that RFM is being practiced in our forests through the forest certification Process;
  • Undertake to work, with our stakeholders, towards full compliance with Irish Forestry standards;
  • Comply with all applicable legal requirements and forest certification standards;
  • Abide by the Forest Service Code of Best Forest Practice and related guidelines on Archaeology, Fisheries, Landscape, Biodiversity among others; and
  • Strive for continuous improvement of forestry practices.

In 2011 Coillte marked 10 years of independent forest certification that our forests are managed responsibly in accordance with stringent environmental, social and economic criteria. Coillte celebrated this event with stakeholders, customers and friends in the Aviva Stadium in February 2012.   

Coillte celebrates 10 years of certified forest management

2011 marked a major milestone for Coillte — 10 years of forest certification. We hosted an event at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium with Kevin McCloud writer, designer and television presenter best known for Channel 4’s Grand Designs, to celebrate this achievement.

Forest certification is an independent endorsement of our management of our forests and has been a major factor in allowing Coillte and our customers to increase exports of timber and timber panel products. The event also recognised the role of all of Coillte’s customers, contractors and stakeholders in maintaining this certification and was attended by approximately 200 people.

Forest certification gives our customers and stakeholders the assurance that we meet strict environmental, social and economic criteria in managing our forests.

Forest certification extends to all areas of forest management — wood production, nature conservation, stakeholder consultation, recreation management, environmental protection and community relations.

Our timber panel products manufactured in Clonmel and Waterford Port - Medite MDF and SmartPly OSB - are also certified, enabling us to increase our exports to markets in the UK and Europe.

Securing and maintaining an internationally recognised certification for our forestry management over the last 10 years is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the innovative and sustainable management of natural resources.

Protecting our forest environment

Coillte is conscious of the need for caution during forest operations to ensure that our work is carried out in an environmentally sustainable and responsible manner. Coillte ensures that environmental and social impacts of all forest operations or other land based developments are assessed prior to commencement of any site disturbing operations.

An Environmental Impact Appraisal (EIA) is carried out prior to such  operations. The purpose of an EIA is to identify potentially significant adverse impacts at the planning stage and to propose measures to mitigate against such impacts.

There are four established strategies for impact mitigation which we use as part of our EIA process. They are:

  • Avoidance
  • Reduction
  • Remedy, and
  • Contingency or emergency planning.

Supporting National Biodiversity Initiatives

Coillte and Forest Biodiversity Research in Ireland

As part of our commitment to the sustainability of our forest environment in Ireland Coillte has chosen to be a partner in a major study of forest biodiversity in Ireland.  In collaboration with University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology, the PLANFORBIO project will address forest diversity and management, focusing on forest types that are currently being encouraged through State policies and financial incentives. These are the Irish forests of the future, yet very little is currently known about them. Having assessed these woodlands for diversity, a number of long term monitoring sites have been established and a monitoring programme is now compiled.

In 2011, the BIOPLAN research component of PLANFORBIO continued at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin.

PLANFORBIO research team members were extremely busy and productive doing fieldwork, authoring papers and books, presenting at conferences and completing theses. Three MSc theses have recently been completed and a study on climate change impacts on forest biodiversity has also begun at TCD as part of the BIOPLAN project. This study will examine some of the impacts of climate change on forest biodiversity.

The PLANFORBIO research programme also has a strong presence in a recent issue of the journal "Irish Birds", where papers appear on both the FORESTBIO and HEN HARRIER projects.

The project results reveal a total of 39 different bird species in our forests, with broad separation between forest types in the bird species that they support. Plantation forests are an important habitat for birds in Ireland, particularly given the scarcity of native woodland habitats in Ireland. The findings of this study suggest that the value of plantations can be improved for bird conservation through effective management.

Further details may be found at :