As per the UK forestry industry organization, tree planting in Northern Ireland has to triple to reach official targets. The Confederation of Forest Industries (ConFor) has urged any future administration to make an updated forestry plan a top priority. Incentives and targets to enhance wood production and support jobs, as well as help reach net zero, should be included. The Department of Agriculture stated that it was committed to increasing tree planting. According to ConFor’s CEO, Stuart Goodall, locally grown wood can reduce emissions. As mentioned by Stuart Goodall, planting healthy forests produces new jobs, and because of the strength of the wood market, timber prices are rising dramatically. This is an opportunity for farmers to get some value out of marginal land, as well as the jobs that come with it.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots set a goal of planting 18 million trees by 2030 two years ago. This will need the planting of 900 hectares per year on average. However, statistics reveal that only 200 to 300 hectares are currently afforested each year. According to Brian Murphy, CEO of the timber company Balcas, they have a lot of spare land that is not producing and is not being used productively, and that could be used for forests. Each hectare could absorb 12 to 20 tonnes of carbon per year throughout its life, which is a lot of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. He also stated that this will assist Northern Ireland in meeting some of its numerous climate goals.