FORESTRY LEADERS from across Europe recently had the opportunity to share their experiences and view forests in the Glens of Antrim during a three day visit to Northern Ireland, hosted by its Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

During the tour, staff within DAERA’s Forest Service discussed a range of issues with The European State Forest Association, which included the development of sustainable forests, plant health and showcasing the facilities available for tourists and local communities within NI's forests.

Chief executive of the Forest Service, John Joe O’Boyle, said: “EUSTAFOR members were able to view the outworking of our practices and strategies during a visit to Glenariff Forest in the scenic Glens of Antrim Coast. Our forests help deliver a wide range of benefits to local communities such as positive health and wellbeing and economic activity supported by tourism and timber production. It is important that we continue to share professional experience about sustainable forest management and woodland expansion with forestry colleagues across Europe.”

Executive director of EUSTAFOR, Piotr Borkowski, said: “EUSTAFOR is very grateful to the Forest Service of Northern Ireland for inviting the strategic seminar on the future objectives of our associations to Belfast. This meeting is a significant contribution to further enhancing the co-operation among the European State Forests Management Organisations in advocating the multiple roles and benefits of sustainably managed state forests to the broad society. The results will be presented to the General Assembly in March 2019."