Two thirds of people believe Ireland should build more timber frame homes

There is a strong degree of support for planting more trees and increasing forest cover, according to Red C research for Coillte

About two thirds of people believe more timber frame houses should be built in Ireland rather than using concrete or steel, according to a new survey.

Research carried out by Red C into public attitudes to Coillte’s new forestry strategic vision shows about 80 per cent of people believe that for Ireland to be self-sufficient for its timber requirements, wood should come from independently certified forests.

They also say Coillte should innovate and promote wood products to support the bio-economy and de-carbonise our built environment.

There is a strong degree of support for planting more trees and increasing forest cover with four in five people agreeing with this.

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In terms of climate mitigation, there is overwhelming support for planting trees such as broadleaves that provide a long-term store of carbon.

There is also strong support for conifers among the general public, with 75 per cent of respondents agreeing that planting conifers that grow quickly and capture carbon at a high rate is important for climate mitigation.

While 45 per cent of those who responded to the public consultation believe Coillte’s ambition to create 100,000 hectares of new forests by 2050 doesn’t go far enough, 44 per cent of the general public believe this ambition is just about right.

The majority agree with Coillte’s ambition to redesign (rewetting or rewilding) peatland forests where they present a significant carbon emission risk.

An overwhelming majority believe that Irish forests are important for nature and biodiversity. Similarly, there is almost unanimous agreement that Coillte has a role to play in addressing the biodiversity crisis.

However, there is relatively low awareness that approximately 20 per cent of Coillte’s estate is already managed primarily for biodiversity.

There is a divergence of views on Coillte’s ambition to ensure half of the 100,000 hectares of new forests will be native woodlands.

The majority of respondents to the public consultation agree this is too little, while 51 per cent of adults from the general public agreed this ambition is just about right.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter