Forest Service has launched a public engagement regarding forests in West Fermanagh.

Planning forester Breandan Mulholland said: “As our forests develop as places of industry, environment and leisure, we are encouraging everyone to continue to make their feelings known. This engagement enables everyone with an interest to become involved at an early stage. West Fermanagh boasts some of the most iconic landscapes in Northern Ireland from the Magho Cliffs view point at Lough Navar Forest to Castle Archdale Forest on the shores of Lower Lough Erne. How we manage these forests will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

A survey in 2019 calculated that there were 44,000 visits to Florencecourt Forest and 40,000 visits to Lough Navar Forest. Breandan Mulholland said: “Over recent years Forest Service have worked in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to provide recreation facilities that includes the development of trails, car parks and other facilities.”

The forestry sector continues to generate around £60 million per annum from timber production and sustains approximately 1,000 rural jobs across Northern Ireland.

As part of the sustainable management of forests in West Fermanagh Forest Service produced an average of 90,000 cubic metres (3,000 lorry loads) of timber each year to supply the timber processing industry. Over the last five years Forest Service has regenerated 1,029 hectares and planting nearly 2.5 million trees after clear fell.

Breandan Mulholland said: “Forestry planning helps us deliver many services from our forests and woodlands, such as timber production and capture of carbon dioxide to mitigate climate change. Regular reviews of forest plans ensure that they are up to date and allows us to monitor our forests to enable them to continue to meet the diverse and sometimes competing needs of people, wildlife, and wood processing industries.”

The consultation paper identifies opportunities where forest plans could be improved, and suggests how this might be taken forward. You are invited to express your views and opinions.

The consultation runs from 1 July to 31 August 2022.