Forestry in Ireland: An examination of individuals’ attitudes and preferences towards the non-market benefits of forests

Peter Howley, Mary Ryan, Cathal O Donoghue

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In addition to their importance for timber production, Ireland's forests represent a multi-faceted resource that enhances the environment, promotes biodiversity, sequesters atmospheric carbon and facilitates recreational activity. Within this context, the overall aim of this paper is to examine some of the non-market – or rather non-timber production related – benefits of forests. Forestry investment has been identified as a means of promoting economic development in rural areas. The survey results presented here suggest that there are likely to be substantial public good benefits to the promotion of the forestry sector. More specifically, given the frequency of visits nationally, forest parks are shown to be a recreational resource which is highly valued by the general public. Results suggest, however, that individuals are not a homogeneous group with regard to their use of forest parks as there are significant differences between likely users and non-users. In terms of visual amenity, the general public rated forest landscape elements quite highly relative to a variety of other landscape elements. For the most part, those surveyed did not feel that too much of the country's land area was currently in forestry use. Finally, respondents held the biodiversity and carbon sequestration benefits of forestry to be more important than benefits in terms of timber production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-302
Number of pages12
JournalIrish Geography
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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