The Forest Service has launched two public engagements on scoping its plans for forests in west Tyrone and east Fermanagh/east Tyrone.
The areas being reviewed stretch from Strabane to Caledon and Moneymore to Kesh. These engagements are part of a process where all eight Forestry Planning Areas in Northern Ireland are being reviewed.
Calling on the farming community to respond to the engagement, Planning Forester Breandan Mulholland said: “Forestry planning facilitates the delivery of the many services our forests and woodlands provide, such as timber production, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities.
“Reviewing forest plans ensures 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.
“With an estimated forest cover of around 31,150 hectares in the areas being reviewed forests and woodlands are a significant part of the rural landscape and economy.
“Over half of these forests and woodlands are non-Forest Service managed and comprise of nearly 5,000 separate woodlands mainly smaller than one hectare in size that are scattered throughout the farming landscape.
“Forest Service seeks greater involvement of people in the revision of its forest plans that will consider Forest Service forests and include references to non-Forest Service forests and woodlands.
“The farming community can help by telling Forest Service what is important to them in relation to forests and woodlands.”
Mr Mulholland concluded: “Forests are a vital natural resource which belong to us all, and it is particularly important that those living and working in the rural community have their say on the development of forest plans.”
n The consultation runs to September 27.