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Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

Restoring Ireland’s native woodland resource and associated biodiversity.

The Scheme prioritises sites of high ecological significance (included ancient woodlands and designated areas such as Special Areas of Conservation) and also sites where native woodland restoration will 'deliver' benefits regarding the protection of watercourses and aquatic habitats. 

Typical projects under the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme might include the restoration of existing native woodland (e.g. the removal of invasive species such as rhododendron, which can destroy native woodland ecosystems); the conversion of existing conifer forests to native woodland, particularly on sites beside sensitive watercourses, and the protection and management of existing 'scrub' to capitalise on its ecological value as emerging native woodland.

Projects under NWS Conservation will typically include the following approaches:

  • Existing ‘high forest’ native woodland requiring appropriate restorative management (e.g. removal of individual or groups of non-natives, removal of invasive exotics, protection against deer and / or livestock).
  • The conversion of existing conifer forest to native woodland (e.g. the removal of uniform Sitka spruce plantation adjoining a sensitive watercourse, deer fencing, and reforestation with native woodland, through planting and / or natural regeneration).
  • Existing scrub constituting emergent woodland which is predominantly native (e.g. protective fencing, removal of non-natives and invasive exotics, and respacing).

Grant Rates (€/ha)

Scheme category1st grant (€/ha)2nd grant (€/ha)Total grant (€/ha)
Private high forest 3,800 1,200 5,000
Private emergent woodland 2,500 n/a 2,500
Public high forest 3,800 1,200 5,000

Please note: NWS Conservation is a cost-based scheme and all payments are exclusive of VAT. Costs presented must be based on the actual treated area for each approved operation.


Premium Rates (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)Annual premium (€/ha)Duration (years)
Private woodland owner 350 7
Public woodland owner n/a n/a

Relevant publications: