The Forestry Foundation – Sustainable forestry in action

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About the Forestry Foundation

The Irish Natural Forestry Foundation was founded by

Ian Wright in 2002. Forest policy in Ireland was promoting unsustainable practices. An aggressive afforestation programme set a target of covering 17% of the country in trees by 2035. The policy for how this was to achieved was set out in a government document called Growing for the Future (1996). The focus on planting large monocultures of non–native sitka spruce designed for clearfell has led to a range of environmental and social failing of the forest policy in Ireland. The role of INFF, when founded, was to campaign for a robust, inclusive sustainable forestry programme.  We campaign for mixed species broadleaf forests, cognisant of the need for a commercial return, while protecting biodiversity.

The organisation has grown in the years since 2002 and under the direction of CEO, Cillian Lohan the INFF has established itself as a one of Ireland’s most active and influential NGO’s.?

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Meet The Team  

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 Cillian Lohan is the CEO here at Manch 

Cillian’s expertise is much sought after and as such he has been appointed to the following positions which he currently holds in addition to his duties as CEO of the INFF:

    • Board of Directors (Company Secretary) of Irish Environmental Network
    • Board of Directors (Company Secretary) of Cork City Partnership Ltd as Environmental representative
    • Cork County SPC (Strategic Planning Committee) for Transport as Environmental representative
    • Steering Committee of the Irish Environmental Pillar (Advocacy Group)
    • Working to Enhance Biodiversity (WEB) Management Team (Project Director)
    • Nominated by Environmental Pillar as a Government appointee to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Cillian started out in 1999 as a Keeper–Scientist in the Bird Department of Durrell Wildlife. While there Cillian managed the wildfowl collection, including large water birds such as cranes and flamingos.

In 2002 he became Deputy Head of Department at Durrell Wildlife.

Cillian achieved significant successes in flamingo breeding and discovered a new way to visually sex the endangered Meller’s Duck. This discovery was published in Ostrich, African Journal of Ornithology (2004, Vol. 75(3) p. 176–177).

Between Sept 2008 and July 2010 Cillian worked as an Environmental Consultant for Cliste Solutions with specific focus on measuring and managing carbon footprints.

During his time as CEO of the INFF, Cillian has re–structured the organisation. This has included formulating and implementing new strategic plans. The INFF has re–focused its activities and has professionalised its delivery of its core aims and objectives under his direction.

The NGO has three separate but interconnected programs, an Education Program, Research Program, and an Advocacy Program.

Education Program: from primary schools to universities, a successful curriculum education program is run from the headquarters at Manch Estate, West Cork.

Policy Program: Working with the structures provided by the Environmental Pillar there is regular productive interaction between policy makers and the advocacy team.

Research Program: Critical research projects are carried out by the organisations research team focusing on filling gaps in environmental policies, and providing scientific basis for the advocacy team.

Since 2011 Cillian has held the position of Company Secretary of the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) in addition to his role at the INFF.

Cillian is an active Board Member of the IEN, which brings together all of the leading ENGOs in Ireland, and is responsible for securing and overseeing the administration of the annual budget.

 

Ian Wright Ian Wright is the founder of the INFF

Ian established the Irish Natural Forestry Foundation in order to campaign to influence Irish forestry policy, to demonstrate a sustainable means of utilizing afforestation grants and to build strong working partnerships with organisations on various levels such as GreenBelt, COFORD, LEADER, Kinsale College of Further Education, UCC, Discover Primary Science and European Universities amongst others.

Ian is an accomplished sculptor, landscape architect and environmentalist.

He attended Hornsey and Royal College of Art where he claims to have ‘failed with distinction’ before moving to Ireland in 1974. He had a longstanding interest in forestry and developed his own smallholding (13 acres) as a conservation area.

Up until 1994 Ian produced limited edition ceramics with his partner Lynn trading as ‘Cors Its Ceramics’. Concentrating on “crazy” bathroom pieces and selling to Europe, Australia and USA.  His work can be found in many private and public collections. Since 1994, Ian has been producing one off sculptures in cement fondue.

Ian is a ‘Very Part Time’ lecturer in sculpture and ceramics at the National College of Art and Design Dublin, Crawford College of Art and Limerick College of Art and Design.

Ian worked on an environmental research project in the Indian Ocean, helping to run and maintain 42’ ketch taking scientists to sites along East African coast and islands as far east as Madagascar.

Ian researched, developed and introduced the building of low–tech ferro–cement boats as a cottage industry on Lake Malawi to help address the problem of unsustainable fishing practices.

He also sourced the artifacts for Self Help’s “Value of Rubbish” exhibition, using the resourcefulness of African People to instigate a debate and educational projects concerning the West’s attitude to rubbish. This exhibition toured Ireland and was developed into an educational project with EU funding.

In 1997 he purchased 70 acres intending to develop an environmentally and economically sustainable forest using existing grants. He successfully challenged the decision of the Forest Service (through the EU) to only grant aid the planting of alien conifers.

In 2002, Ian became co–editor of the Forest Network Newsletter and held the position until 2008. FNN dealt in depth with current forestry issues from the environmental perspective. During this year he also presented a paper at a COFORD seminar on ‘Opportunities for enhancement of biodiversity in plantation forests’, had articles published in many papers including the Farmers Journal as well as meeting with EU commission on three occasions to discuss Ireland’s forestry policies and abuses of EU funding.

Ian’s campaigning to influence Irish forestry policy has included working with Tony Lowes and Caroline Lewis of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) , challenging Coillte Teo claims to be a private company and challenging Forest Service policy through drafting PM questions.

Between 2005 and 2010, Ian worked in conjunction with Greenbelt and private landowners to plant approx 1.5 million trees.

Ian also designs and creates lakes and wetland habitats and planting for biodiversity for private clients.

Has worked in an advisory capacity for:

  • The Village project Cloughjordan
  • Loch Hyne Trust
  • Carrigfada
  • Consultant to many farmers’ private landowners

Current Projects:

  • Currently working as a consultant to Imperitive Energy to develop sustainable biomass project in Guyana.
  • Establishing the Inter–National Forestry Foundation (Tobago).
  • Facilitating the establishment of a Biodiversity Awareness Centre in Tobago.

 



We would like to acknowledge the financial support received from the Irish Environmental Network.

 

Contact us at The Forestry Foundation

Tel:            +353 23 8822823

Email:        enquiries@inff.ie

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