By Stephen Cadogan
Improved forestry grant establishment and support schemes are being introduced at nationwide information meetings.
Details of the revised Forestry Programme 2014-2020 are being provided by Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.
Included are enhanced incentives for afforestation and promoting active forest management and timber harvesting.
For afforestation and creation of woodlands, there is a 7% increase in all broadleaf and diverse conifer grant categories; a 5% increase in all broadleaf and diverse conifer premiums; a 2% increase in grants for categories 1 to 3; and a 2% increase in premiums for all plantations greater than 10 hectares.
For forest fencing and tree shelter, there is a new deer fencing provision of €16.25/m (140 m/ha); an upgraded deer fencing rate of €8/m (140 m/ha); up to €300/ha for tree shelters (mainly for broadleaf); and €2.50/m up to 140m per ha for forests subject to hare damage.
Under forestry for fibre, the number of premiums increases from 10 to 15, and the rate per hectare from €180 to €510. The grant per hectare increases from €2,450 to €3,815.
In agroforestry, the premium per hectare increases from €260 to €645; the grant from €4,450 to €6,220, and there is eligibility for thinning, tending and pruning grants.
All forestry additional fencing grants increase to a maximum of €600 (140m/ha).
The Neighbourwoods scheme is now open to applications all-year-round, with an increased allocation to reflect the scale of works being undertaken.
Forest road grants increase from 20m to to 25m/ha.
The Woodland Improvement Scheme will be opened to non-grant aided broadleaf forests, and all broadleaf mixtures that meet required eligibility criteria. All broadleaf forests, including mixtures, will be eligible for second thinning grants of €500/ha.
The Support for Continuous Cover Forestry element is now open to conifer, mixed and broadleaf forests, with successful applicants eligible for €750 payments for three separate interventions over 12 years.
Native woodland conservation public high forest grant aid is Increased to match private high forest aid; access is now allowed to the forest fencing and tree shelter schemes; and Afforestation Grant & Premium Scheme fencing allowances now apply to the native woodland scheme.
A national scheme for forestry knowledge transfer groups focusing on mobilisation of timber and biomass is being introduced.
In the forest genetic reproductive material scheme, the Seed Stand & Seed Orchard Scheme is open for applications all year round. Seed Stand grant aid/ha increases to €750/ha in two instalments. There is an additional fencing grant for areas susceptible to deer damage.
Forest genetic reproductive material aid applications for Douglas fir, Scots pine, Western red cedar, and western hemlock will be considered.
A new Forest Management Plan and Certification Scheme is proposed, to support certification of privately owned forests.