Kerry had the second highest amount of land covered by forestry last year.
However, figures from the Department of Agriculture show there’s been a steady decline in afforestation rates in the county in recent years.
The forestry sector is currently in crisis with a severe backlog in the issuing of licences for felling trees, which is impacting on confidence in the industry.
Between 1980 and 2020, there were 2,181 forestry owners in Kerry, some of whom may have planted again in the following years; that’s the second highest figure in Ireland after Cork.
Last year, Cork had the highest afforestation area (293ha) followed by Kerry at 289 hectares; this was all in private ownership.
In Kerry, that area is made up of 174 hectares of conifer and 115 hectares of broadleaf species.
However, the planting of forestry in Kerry has been in decline every year since 2014; when 574 hectares was planted.
In 2020, planting in Kerry was carried out mainly by non-farmers; five farmers planted 20 hectares and 39 non-farmers planted nearly 269 hectares.
The number of farmers planting forestry has fallen in Kerry over the past five years from 51 in 2016 to 5 last year.