Brief Overview of Forestry Grant and Premium Rates
The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme incorporates 12 separate Grant and Premium Categories (GPCs), providing options including productive conifers, broadleaf species, native woodland initiatives as well as agroforestry and forestry-for-fibre options.
The Afforestation Grant (see table 1 below) is available to establish your forest (‘First Grant’ plus a fencing allocation) and to maintain it for the first four years (‘Second Grant’).
You are also entitled to an Afforestation Premium (see table 2). This annual forestry payment depends on the type of tree planted (higher rates for broadleaves) and the area planted (planting more than ten hectares attracts a higher rate). The Afforestation Premium is usually paid for a period of 15 years.
The minimum area to be eligible is 0.1 hectare if the land is suitable for broadleaves. The minimum area for conifers is 1 hectare.
These grants are administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Grant and Premium Categories (GPCs)
GPCs 1 to 8 fund the establishment of a ‘conventional’ broadleaf or conifer forest with the main objective of sustainable commercial timber production. Of these, GPCs 5 to 8 provide options for broadleaf planting, depending on the species selected. Options include species such as oak, beech, sycamore, alder and birch.
The establishment of a native woodland is supported by GPCs 9 and 10, depending on the most appropriate woodland type.
GPC 11 supports the establishment of agroforestry: this is the production of high value timber combined with agricultural activities in the same field such as sheep grazing or silage production.
The Forestry for Fibre option (GPC 12) supports the growing of eucalyptus and poplar to produce woody biomass (rather than more valuable sawlog) over a short period of time (e.g. 10 to 15 years).
Full details of this wide array of GPC options and associated funding are available from your Teagasc Forestry Adviser.
Keep in mind that although the premium is a very welcome payment for the first 15 years, the return from timber is a multiple of all of the forestry premiums put together.
Table 1: Establishment Grant Rates (€/ha)
|Grant and Premium Category (GPC)||First Grant(€/ha)||Second Grant
|Fencing allocation (IS436)
|Alternative fencing allocation (non-IS436)100m/ha||Total Grant available
|GPC 1 – Unenclosed||1,605||535||600||350||2,740|
|GPC 2 – Sitka spruce / Lodgepole pine||2,330||775||600||350||3,705|
|GPC 3 – 10% Diverse Conifer
e.g. Sitka spruce and 10% broadleaves
|GPC 4 – Diverse Conifer
e.g. Scots pine, Douglas Fir
|GPC 5 – Broadleaf
|GPC 6 – Oak||4,215||1,405||600||450||6,220|
|GPC 7 – Beech||4,215||1,405||600||450||6,220|
|GPC 8 – Alder and Birch||2,695||900||600||450||4,195|
|GPC 9 – Native Woodland Establishment
|GPC 10 – Native Woodland Establishment
|GPC 11 – Agroforestry||4,215||1,405||600||450||6,220|
|GPC 12 – Forestry for Fibre||2,410||805||600||450||3,815|
Table 2: Establishment Premium Rates (€/ha)
|Grant and Premium Category (GPC)||
Annual Premium Rate <10ha
Annual Premium Rate >10ha
|GPC 1 – Unenclosed||185||190||15|
|GPC 2 – Sitka spruce / Lodgepole pine||440||450||15|
|GPC 3 – 10% Diverse Conifer, e.g. Sitka spruce and 10% broadleaves||510||520||15|
|GPC 4 – Diverse Conifer, e.g. Scots pine, Douglas Fir||590||600||15|
|GPC 5 – Broadleaf, e.g. sycamore||605||620||15|
|GPC 6 – Oak||645||660||15|
|GPC 7 – Beech||645||660||15|
|GPC 8 – Alder and Birch||605||620||15|
|GPC 9 – Native Woodland Establishment (oak-birch-holly-hazel)||665||680||15|
|GPC 10 – Native Woodland Establishment (alder-oak)||665||680||15|
|GPC 11 – Agroforestry||645||660||5|
|GPC 12 – Forestry for Fibre||510||520||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
Categories are determined by the category of land planted, tree species and area planted. Please note: the minimum mandatory broadleaf requirement is 15%.
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. For instance, Scots pine, Douglas fir and Norway spruce.
GPC 5 – Broadleaf:
Acceptable broadleaf species other than Oak and Beech such as sycamore, maple and wild cherry.
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.
GPC 9 and GPC 10 – Native Woodland Establishment:
This category supports the establishment of new native woodlands on ‘green field’ sites. Its focus is on native species, minimal site disturbance and long-term ‘close-to-nature’ management. It may present opportunities for planting in various environmentally sensitive areas.
GPC 11 – Agroforestry:
‘Silvopastoral agroforestry’ is a combination of trees and pasture. Silage and hay production is also permitted.
GPC 12 – Forestry for Fibre:
This scheme supports the growing of fast-growing tree species to produce wood biomass yields in the region of 150-300 m3/ha over 10 to 15 years. This scheme does not fund short rotation coppice, Christmas trees or fast growing trees (cut every 9 years).