Irish forestry could grow by 70% by the end of the decade, delegates were told at a recent industry conference.

Dr Eugene Hendrick, director of COFORD (, the National Council for Forest Research and Development, told those attending the recent Innovation in Wood Products and Processes workshop that Irish forestry has the potential to employ up to 27,000 people by 2010, at which stage its turnover could be 70% larger than it is at present.

The Dublin event was told that the industry currently employed 12,000 people and had a turnover of €500m.

The workshop was organised in conjunction with the Scottish Forest Industries Cluster and another was held in Edinburgh the day after.