The forestry sector is on track for another disastrous year in terms of planting, with just 326ha of trees put in the ground by the end of April, according to the latest figures from the forestry licensing dashboard.

This is just ahead of last year’s extremely low planting levels, when 322ha were planted between January and April. The total area planted in 2023 was just 1,651ha, an all-time low for the sector.

Unless there is a surge in activity between now and December, the total area planted will fall well below 2,000ha again this year.

On a positive note, afforestation licences issued to the end of April have rebounded. Licences for 1,167ha have been issued so far this year, compared to 86ha for the first four months of 2023, and 1,374ha in 2022.

However, felling licences for just 7,302ha have been issued to the end of April. This is back from 12,052ha for the same period in 2023, and 16,090ha in 2022.