The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) agreed to back a new initiative expected to support EUR 112 million of new investment in privately owned forests across Ireland.
According to the announcement, the new engagement with Dasos represents the first Irish agricultural project and the first forest project in Europe to be supported by the Investment Plan for Europe that seeks to unlock EUR 315 billion of new investment.
The project will see the EIB and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund work together for the first time in the agriculture sector and support a EUR 112 million investment by Dasos, a specialist forestry investment fund. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will provide EUR 55 million and the EIB EUR 28.5 million for this scheme. Additional support is expected from other investors as the initiative progresses. The EIB support is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
Pan-European forest investment fund Dasos will seek to address issues faced by small scale forests across the country by working to improve forest management and strengthen the supply of wood for commercial use. The investment will support crucial upgrades to Ireland’s forestry infrastructure through the consolidation of its management.
By supporting direct land acquisition, lease contracts, afforestation and other forms of land management the Dasos initiative intends to develop into a professionally managed portfolio of around 10,000 hectares of forests across Ireland in the coming years. New forest management investment by Dasos across the country seeks to ensure a more predictable supply of wood including from previously subsidised forests where subsidies are coming to an end.
Dr, Olli Haltia, Chief Executive Officer of Dasos, commented:
“Over the coming years the Dasos Ireland forestry fund intends to help overcome diverse challenges faced by a fragmented industry and revitalise forestry in rural communities. Working with both Irish and European partners I am pleased to launch the first operations in Ireland by Finnish-based pan-European forest investment fund Dasos.”
There are an estimated 19,500 private owners of small forests across Ireland. Many of these plantations were originally supported by land based grants that are now expiring as the plantations reach an age that requires more scale efficient forest management.
The European Investment Bank also confirmed that additional support for agriculture in Ireland was expected to be confirmed in the coming months.