Why Forests? Why Wood?

The Case for Multipurpose Forestry in Uncertain Times

By: Donal Magner

Publication Date: 20 JUNE 2024



Donal Magner knows the importance of forests better than most as illustrated in his critically acclaimed Stopping by Woods, the definitive guide to over 340 of Ireland’s forests and woodlands. In Why Forests? Why Wood? he seeks answers to the problems of connectedness between people, woodland and its various uses. 

Why Forests? Why Wood? explores the fundamental values that constitute sustainable forestry and what that means to society. Donal Magner provides a comprehensive study of one of our greatest renewable resources and how it is the key to sustainable living in uncertain times. This essential work illustrates the importance of the forest ecosystem and its environmental and social benefits but also demonstrates how wood from sustainably managed forests displaces fossil-based materials in construction, energy and products that contribute to the current climate crisis. In this wide-ranging work, Magner lays out how both wood and non-wood benefits will play a major role in achieving the goals of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan which identified afforestation as Ireland’s most important land use in mitigating climate change. 

Above all, forestry is about people; the people who work and the depend on the forests for their livelihoods and the people who now make 29 million visits annually to our forests and woodlands. Despite advances in technology and science, we still need to return to nature. The forest is at the heart of nature, providing we nurture and respect it.


Donal Magner, author of Stopping by Woods: A Guide to the Forests and Woodlands of Ireland, is forestry editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. An advocate of sustainable forestry, he is also project manager of the all-Ireland Wood Awards Ireland. A recipient of the prestigious RDS-Forest Service Special Award for his contribution to Irish forestry in 2012, he holds master degrees from UCD and DCU. He contributes to a wide range of community and environmental projects as Environment Lead such as Rotary Ireland and director of An Tairseach, the Dominican Farm and Ecology Centre, Wicklow. A native of Castletownroche, County Cork, he now lives in Wicklow.


 ‘The feeling you get when reading it, is that you want to get out to those woods immediately and walk down their forest tracks.’ GAY BYRNE, RTÉ LYRIC FM

 ‘After five years of criss-crossing the island, the walks Donal Magner describes must make up the widest field experience of any forester on the island.’ MICHAEL VINEY, IRISH TIMES

Weight 0.500 kg
Dimensions 245 × 170 mm


Publication Date

20 JUNE 2024