Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 14 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Environmental Policy.

Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if her attention has been drawn to suggestions that forest brash should be removed from sensitive sites where the nutrients may be causing damage to the ecosystem; her views on whether this would be feasible or if there are difficulties in operating such a policy. [37410/06]

  Mary Coughlan: I am aware of the issues relating to brash management, particularly where sensitive sites are concerned. In general, the removal of brash is not advocated as such a practice may increase the need for fertiliser application following reforestation.

On sensitive sites, the brash can provide protection to the surface soil layers. Its removal, using current technologies, can pose difficulties and the benefits need to be weighed up against the risks of increased sediment loss in removing the protective brash mat.

[962] The issues of sedimentation and nutrient release from forest sites are the subject of current research by the Western River Basin District’s Forest and Water Quality Group.