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Galway County’s Partner Forest Program

In February 2023, Galway County Council (GCC) and the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) signed an MOU to formally initiate a multifaceted Partner Forest program in Galway, Ireland. The goal of the Galway Partner Forest program is to create a robust green and sustainable wood procurement policy that is supported by physical examples that embody the policy’s sustainability criteria. 
In order to do this, the proposed program employs two equally important components.

Sustainable Wood Procurement Innovation

In anticipation of the recent Green Public Procurement requirements for Irish local authorities, Galway County Council (GCC) committed to working with Cities4Forests, Atlantic Technological University, WoodConnect, Ireland’s wood industry cluster, and Greenville Procurement Partners, to co-create a green and sustainable purchasing policy for wood in furniture and construction. This policy is an integral part of Galway County’s Partner Forest Program and will build long-term opportunities. It will  promote mutually beneficial relationships between local governments and faraway forests to help promote knowledge of the sustainable consumption of forest products, protect biodiversity, restore global climate health and support forest communities' livelihoods and wellbeing.

Working with Sustainable Forestry in Brazil and Guatemala

Through the Cities4Forests initiative, Pilot Projects, WoodConnect and the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) will deliver a sustainable tropical wood skills project with conservation timber from the Brazilian state of Amazonas. The project was launched in September 2023, which allowed students to produce unique public infrastructure projects for the GCC consideration for broader spatial plans including Galway’s Sustainable Mobility and Transportation initiatives. 

A small group of students from ATU Galway will be visiting Uaxactún and Carmelita, Guatemala at the end of May 2024. This group of students excelled in the Connecting Communities Design Competition and were awarded a week-long expedition led by community representatives to learn more about sustainable tropical forestry. 

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Conservation of local biodiversity is a top priority for maintaining the concessions' FSC certification.


Much of Galway County's public infrastrcture – e.g. benches – are made with indistinct wood species, often ill-suited to the local climate. 

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