Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. Summary of main measures.

Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020.  Summary of main measures.

 

Afforestation and Creation of Woodland.

 

  1. Afforestation scheme

Basically a continuation of the existing scheme.  Grant aid to cover the cost of establishing and maintaining the plantation for the first 4 years.  This is a fixed grant rate.

 

Premium rate for enclosed land ranging from €510 to €615 per ha per annum payable for 15 years.  There is no differentiation in premium rate between farmers and non-farmers.  Persons out of the Early Retirement Scheme from farming can qualify for the forest premium.  Farmers can draw down the BPS on afforested land, subject to terms and conditions.

 

  1. Agro-Forestry

New scheme.  Grant aid to cover the cost of establishing and maintaining the plantation for the first 4 years.  Annual premium of €260 per ha per annum payable for 5 years.  The scheme is targeted at silvopastoral forestry which combines forestry and pasture, including grazing and the growing of fodder.  Stocking rate of trees of 400 – 1000 trees per ha.  Agro-Forestry must remain under forestry indefinitely and therefore is subject to a re-planting obligation.  Farmers can draw down the BPS on such land, subject to terms and conditions.

 

  1. Forestry for Fibre

New scheme.  Suitable sites must be below 200 m in elevation, enclosed and with free-draining arable or pasture soils or surface water gleys without a peat layer.

 

Grant aid to cover the cost of establishing and maintaining the plantation for the first 4 years.  Annual premium of €180 per ha per annum payable for 10 years. The area planted must remain under forestry indefinitely and therefore is subject to a re-planting obligation.  Farmers can draw down the BPS on such land, subject to terms and conditions.

 

  1. Native Woodland Establishment

An amended version of the existing scheme.  This is available to all landowners with Natura 2000, Acid Sensitive, High status waterbodies, Fresh Water Pearl Mussel catchment areas eligible once the woodland can contribute towards the various environmental sensitivities.

 

Grant aid to cover the cost of establishing and maintaining the plantation for the first 4 years.  This is a fixed grant rate.

 

Premium rate for enclosed land of €635 per ha per annum payable for 15 years.  There is no differentiation in premium rate between farmers and non-farmers.  Persons out of the Early Retirement Scheme from farming can qualify for this premium.  Farmers can draw down the BPS on such land, subject to terms and conditions.

 

 

Forest Road Scheme

 

The grant rate for roads has increased by €5 to €40 per linear meter, with a maximum allowance of 20 LM per ha of eligible forest area.  The criteria for calculating the eligible area is now as follows:  Where 50% or greater of the area is due for harvesting in the next 3 years the entire area can be deemed eligible.  This can be extended to 5 years for co-operative road building.

 

A special construction works (SCW) grant is being introduced for 50% of the cost of the SCW up to a maximum of €5000 per application whichever is the smaller.

 

The Forest Service area accepting applications from the 12th January.

 

 

Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

 

This is being re-introduced and supports the protection and enhancement of existing Native Woodlands and where appropriate the conversion of conifer forest to Native Woodland.  The involvement of an ecologist is mandatory.  Grants to a maximum of €5000/ha in respect of 100% of the total approved costs incurred are available.  The annual premium payable is €350 per ha for 7 years.

 

A new element – Emergent Native Woodland – is being introduced.  This aims to support the conservation of suitable area of scrub with a focus on such woodland on riparian sites and mineral sites.  Essentially these woodlands are under threat of scrubbing out but would be allowed to develop to high forest if allowed under this scheme.  The annual premium of €350/ha payable for 7 years applies.

 

Funding has been set aside for between 300ha – 360ha of native woodland conservation per annum.

 

Other

 

Funding is also available/proposed for the following:

 

NeighbourWood Scheme,

Reconstitution Scheme,

Woodland Improvement (Thinning and Tending)

Knowledge Transfer and Innovation,

Producer Groups,

Innovative Forest Technology,

Forest Genetic Reproductive Material,

Forest Management Plans,

 

Penalties also form a significant part of the new forestry programme, applicable to both Grant and Premium payments.