§ MR. GINNELL (Westmeath, N.)
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether it is within his personal knowledge that the acreage stated in the agricultural statistics of Ireland for 1907 to be under woods and plantations is misleading if it implies an increase of trees in Ireland; whether he is aware that lands formerly wooded are still so classed, though few of the trees remain and the lands have grown into grass, that trees growing on fences and trees generally, have been destroyed to a greater extent than statistics show, without any proportionate planting, and that the destruction of trees is too great to be remedied by the provisions in the new Land Bill; and whether he proposes to introduce at an early date a separate non-contentious measure to encourage the planting of trees in Ireland.
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR IRELAND (Mr. T. W. RUSSELL,) Tyrone, S.
The question of the area under timber in Ireland and the cutting down and restocking of plantations is fully discussed in the Report of the Forestry Committee and the statistics analysed and checked by the light of special surveys which the Forestry Committee caused to be made for the purpose. These investigations confirmed the substantial accuracy of the Department's statistics, and the hon. Member is referred to Part I. of the Report as the best answer to the points raised in the first part of his Question. The Report further makes it clear that the main legislative powers for a scheme of woodland protection and afforestation for Ireland already exist, and that what is required is the financial provision which would enable such a scheme to be undertaken as a reproductive State investment. Such comparatively minor legislative amendments as were recommended by the Forestry Committee are being embodied in the new Land Bill; 247 and the Government have under consideration measures for dealing with the financial recommendations of the Committee on an early date.