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New EU investment in sustainable forestry across Ireland

Crucial new investment to strengthen green infrastructure, benefit biodiversity and adapt infrastructure to a changing climate has been unlocked by the Natural Capital Financial Facility, a EUR 400 million initiative intended to better protect Europe’s natural capital.

The unique scheme is now looking to expand cooperation with partners across Europe to enhance investment that better supports nature conservation and climate change adaptation.

Launched 3 years ago by the European Investment Bank and by the European Commission, the Natural Capital Financial Facility has backed new investment by nature-focused businesses and is supporting transformational schemes across Europe.

EUR 12.5 million new backing for Irish Continuous Cover Forestry initiative

New investment in sustainable forestry across Ireland will be supported by the latest operation under the Natural Capital Financing Facility. Irish commercial forests are amongst the most productive in the world and the new scheme will enable global institutional investors to support a more sustainable forestry model.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with SLM Silva Fund to improve sustainable practices in Irish forests. The new EUR 12.5 million investment builds on the EIB’s recent support for forestry and agriculture in the country and will demonstrate how best practice in Ireland’s world-class forestry industry can take better account of the need to safeguard biodiversity, soils and landscapes, and help resist the threats associated with climate change.” said Andrew McDowell, Vice President of the European Investment Bank responsible for Ireland.

The SLM Silva Fund will work with commercial forest schemes across Ireland to encourage Continuous Cover Forestry. This provides an alternative to the predominant clear felling model that leaves bare hillsides and focuses on a narrow range of tree species, reducing habitat value and ecosystem health. Continuous Cover Forestry also enables productive forests which are more resilient to pests and diseases, as well as avoiding the negative impacts on soil and water resources of conventional practices.

“Agriculture and forestry play a key role as custodians of natural capital and the agri-food sector is an essential and integral part of any solution to ultimately deliver natural capital imperatives for rural areas and society as a whole. This new forestry investment in Ireland, with participation of the EU’s LIFE Programme and the European Investment Bank, shows how conservation considerations can be combined with commercial activity,” said Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Article courtesy of the European Investment Bank

Photo by Rudolf Jakkel: