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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 also 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 planting of the forest and is payable following completion of planting. The balance is paid by way of a Second Grant four years after planting following successful establishment of the forest. 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, soil type and area planted. 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 Registered Forester: 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 Grant available
(€/ha)
GPC 1 - Unenclosed 1605 535 600 350 2740
GPC 2 - Sitka spruce / Lodgepole pine 2330 775 600 350 3705
GPC 3 - 10% Diverse Conifer 2410 805 600 350 3815
GPC 4 - Diverse Conifer 2785 925 600 350 4310
GPC 5 - Broadleaf 3960 1320 600 450 5880
GPC 6 - Oak 4215 1405 600 450 6220
GPC 7 - Beech 4215 1405 600 450 6220
GPC 8 - Alder / Birch 2695 900 600 450 4195

Premium Rates (€/ha)

 

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)Annual premium <10 ha(€/ha)Annual premium >10 ha(€/ha)Premium duration (years)
GPC 1 - Unenclosed 185  190 15
GPC 2 - Sitka spruce / Lodgepole pine 440  450 15
GPC 3 - 10% Diverse Conifer 510  520 15
GPC 4 - Diverse Conifer 590  600 15
GPC 5 - Broadleaf 605  620 15
GPC 6 - Oak 645  660 15
GPC 7 - Beech 645  660 15
GPC 8 - Alder / Birch 605  620 15

Eligibility - main points

  • Applicants must be over 18 years of age and hold a Personal Pubic Service Number (PPSN). Companies must provide their company registration number (CRO).
  • All afforestation projects must obtain prior written approval from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine termed ‘Technical Approval’. A separate ‘Financial Approval’ is also required for grant-aided projects before work commences.
  • Applicants for technical approval must be the owner, lease holder or joint manager of the land at the time of the application (exceptions where owner is deceased or owner consents in writing).
  • An application for technical approval under the Afforestation Scheme must be made by the applicant and a Registered Forester following a site visit and assessment by the Registered Forester.
  • Land must remain under forestry and therefore is subject to a replanting obligation for all grant categories outlined above.

Brief explanation of Grant and Premium Categories 1-8

The forest must contain a minimum of 15% broadleaves by area. This can comprise: broadleaves planted in broadleaf GPC plots of minimum width; and/or broadleaves planted as part of the 'at least 10% diverse' requirement for GPC 3; and/or additional broadleaves planted for environmental and landscape reasons.

GPC 1 – Unenclosed/Unimproved land:

Typically comprises of upland sites and marginal soils. The amount of unenclosed land in any application for financial approval cannot exceed 20% of the total area.

GPC 2 – Sitka Spruce/Lodgepole Pine:

Does not comply with scheme requirements in isolation and can only be approved as a component of a larger project comprising of other GPCs.

GPC 3 – 10% Diverse Conifer/Broadleaf:

Comprises of a mix of Sitka Spruce/Lodgepole pine together with at least 10% Diverse conifer (approved conifer other than SS/LP). Broadleaves adjacent to roads and watercourses may also form part of this 10%.

GPC 4 – Diverse Conifer:

Acceptable conifer species, other than Sitka spruce and Lodgepole Pine.

GPC 5 – Broadleaf:

Acceptable broadleaf species other than Oak and Beech.

GPC 6 – Oak:

Pure Oak, however nurse species may be planted where additional shelter is required.

GPC 7 – Beech:

Pure Beech, however nurse species may be planted where additional shelter is required.

GPC 8 – Alder/Birch:

Pure Alder or Improved Birch; up to 10% can be of other species for diversity.

Relevant publications: