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Afforestation

Focus is on timber production (Grant and Premium Categories 1-8)

Grant and Premium Categories 1-8 (for a description of GPC 1-8, see below) fund the establishment of a ‘conventional’ forest with the main objective to produce commercial timber. There can of course be other additional objectives also.

Both conifer as well as broadleaf tree species can be considered. Initial stocking rates range from 2500 trees/ha for most conifers to 3300 trees/ha for broadleaves.

Careful consideration should be made in matching tree species to site types. It is important that the landowner appreciates the difference between tree species and the different time scales to achieve returns.

Grant aid

The First Grant is available to cover the costs associated with the establishment of the forest and is payable after planting with the balance paid by way of a Second Grant four years after planting following successful establishment. Grant levels are dependent on tree species and soil type.

Annual forestry premium payments are available to compensate landowners for the loss in income earning potential from the afforestation of their land. New entrants are entitled to annual forestry premiums dependent on tree species and soil type. This premium is payable for a period of 15 years in respect of Grant and Premium Categories 1-8.

The maximum grant and premium rates are detailed below. The afforestation grant is a fixed grant to cover the costs incurred in the establishment of a forest and paid exclusive of VAT. It is paid in two instalments as outlined below. An additional allowance for fencing (to the maximum rates detailed below) is payable with the First Grant instalment.

The grant application is made by the forest owner in association with a List of Registered Foresters (PDF).

Grant Rates (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)1st Grant
(€/ha)
2nd Grant
(€/ha)
Additional Fencing Allocation (IS436)Alternative Fencing Allocation
(Non IS436)
Total Available Funding
(€/ha)
GPC 1 - Unenclosed 1575 525 500 350 2600
GPC 2 - Sitka spruce / lodgepole pine 2310 735 500 350 3545
GPC 3 - 10% Diverse 2360 790 500 350 3650
GPC 4 - Diverse 2625 840 500 350 3965
GPC 5 - Broadleaves 3780 1155 500 450 5435
GPC 6 - Oak 3990 1260 500 450 5750
GPC 7 - Beech 3990 1260 500 450 5750
GPC 8 - Alder 2250 840 500 450 3860

Premium Rates (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)Annual premium (€/ha)Duration (years)
GPC 1 - Unenclosed 185 15
GPC 2 - Sitka spruce / lodgepole pine 440 15
GPC 3 - 10% Diverse 510 15
GPC 4 - Diverse 560 15
GPC 5 - Broadleaves 575 15
GPC 6 - Oak 615 15
GPC 7 - Beech 615 15
GPC 8 - Alder 575 15

Description of Grant and Premium Categories 1 to 8:

GPC 1 – Unenclosed/Unimproved land

All approved broadleaf and conifer species planted on unenclosed land receive the unenclosed grant and premium rates.

GPC 2 - Sitka spruce / Lodgepole Pine

This plot is comprised of Sitka spruce and/or lodgepole pine only. For landscape purposes, a small number of other species should be incorporated into this plot.

A GPC 2 plot on its own is not eligible for grant or premium payments because it does not comply with plantation rules 1 and 2 and must be a component of a larger afforestation project comprised of other GPC categories.

GPC 3 - 10% diverse mix

This plot is comprised of an intimate mix of Sitka spruce and/or Lodgepole Pine together with a suitable diverse conifer. The diverse conifer content must be at least 10% of the total number of trees planted. This diverse species can be intimately mixed through the forest or planted in groups through the forest, or a combination of both where silviculturally compatible with the main species. In an intimate mix, the diverse conifer species may be substituted by suitable broadleaves, including birch, planted in groups where soils are suitable. Broadleaves adjacent to roads and watercourses may also form part of this 10%. A forest comprising of just GPC 3 will satisfy the 10% broadleaved requirement where 10% additional broadleaves are planted for environment and landscape reasons.

GPC 4 – Diverse

This plot is comprised of an acceptable conifer species, other than Sitka Spruce and Lodgepole Pine.

GPC 5 - Broadleaf (other than Oak/Beech)

This plot is comprised of an acceptable broadleaf species, other than Oak and Beech.

GPC 6 – Oak

This plot is comprised of pure oak. On large sites where additional shelter is required, an appropriate nurse species may be introduced. Other patterns will be considered on case by case basis.

GPC 7 – Beech

This plot is comprised of pure beech. On large sites where additional shelter is required, an appropriate nurse species may be introduced but there must be at least 10 lines of beech between each nurse species. Other patterns will be considered on case by case basis.

GPC8 – Alder

This plot is comprised of pure alder. For species diversity, up to 10% of trees planted may comprise of other species intimately mixed or planted in groups.

Relevant publications: