Nine commercial forests around Dublin, operated by the forestry business Coillte, are to be redesignated for recreational use.

It is part of a new multi-million euro plan, which will include creating native woodlands across the country to be used as public amenities.

Coillte manages about 7% of Ireland's land, and for the past 30 years its remit has mainly focused on the commercial aspect of forestry - providing timber.

Now it is to create a not-for-profit entity called Coillte Nature which will focus on recreation and the environment.

Under the plan, Coillte Nature will deliver new woodlands across the country with aim of delivering species diversity, biodiversity while also acting as a carbon sink.

As a first step, nine commerical forests around the capital - which are visited by more than 600,000 people a year - are to be converted into recreation and biodiversity zones.

Conversion from commercial to recreational forests will partly involve removal of commercial species and replacement with native tree species.

The 2,000 acres of forest in the Dublin Mountains, will be followed by the creation of 1,000 acres of new native woodlands across Ireland every year.

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