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Attwood commends Ikea's contribution to World Environment Day

Environment Minister Alex Attwood today commended Ikea's contribution to World Environment Day.
Monday, 6 June 2011

The Minister recognised Ikea's contribution to sustaining and developing forests when producing their furniture worldwide.

The United Nations has chosen "Forests: Nature at your Service" as the theme for the 2011 Environment Day on 5 June.

Alex Attwood said: "I commend IKEA for highlighting and demonstrating that the commercial use of timber can and should be undertaken sustainably. We need to preserve our forests and woodlands. The value of timber production itself is worth over £7million to the Northern Ireland economy per annum."

"Forests and woodlands also provide a wide range of ecological services and public benefits that are often not fully recognised. As well as producing timber, they provide renewable energy sources, carbon storage and recycling and locations for sporting activities and leisure. Many of our most visited recreational sites are woodlands while much of our native biodiversity is dependent on woodlands. "

Notes to editors:

  1. Only 6% of Northern Ireland is wooded and it is one of the least forested areas of Europe. However, surveys show that woodlands have increased in area by 28% during the last decade. Government recognises the importance of woodlands and has plans to expand woodland area and improve their value to people in Northern Ireland.
  2. IKEA has worked in partnership with the Woodland Trust since 2007 to plant a square 'foot of forest' in a wood near to every IKEA store, with the ultimate goal to create 450 acres of new native UK woodland.
  3. As a part of World Environment Day IKEA will be holding a number of fun activities in its Belfast store on Saturday 4 June between 2pm and 4pm. For more details see www.ikea.com.
  4. World Environment Day is on 5 June . Its theme “Forests: Nature at Your Service” focuses on the ecosystem services which forests provide. For more details about Word Environment Day can be found at www.unep.org.
  5. A comprehensive valuation of UK’s natural environment and resources, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment , was launched on 2 June 2011. This gives detailed information on the importance of the ecological services and public benefits that woodlands provide. A launch of the Northern Ireland report which was supported by NIEA is proposed in early autumn. For more details see uknea.unep-wcmc.org.
  6. The NIEA funded Northern Ireland Countryside Survey estimated a total of 63,507 ha of broadleaved and mixed woodland and 62,135 ha of coniferous woodland in Northern Ireland in 2007. These represented a 28.8% increase of broad-leaved and mixed woodland and 2.4% decrease in coniferous woodland since 1998. For more details see www.doeni.gov.uk.
  7. For media enquiries please contact DOE Communications on 028 9054 0003 or out of office hours, contact the duty press officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.