The continued decline of natural forests globally has increased interest in the potential of planted forests to support biodiversity. Here, we examine the potential conservation benefits of plantation forests from an Irish perspective, a country where remaining natural forests are fragmented and degraded, and the majority of the forest area is comprised of non-native Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) plantations. We examine the true value of Irish plantation forests to native biodiversity, relative to remaining natural forest fragments, and to prior and alternative land use to afforestation. We find that plantation forests provide a suitable surrogate habitat primarily for generalist species, as well as providing habitat for certain species of conservation concern. However, we find that plantation forests provide poor habitat for native forest specialists, and examine potential management strategies which may be employed to improve habitat provision services for this group.