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Woodland Environmental Fund

Native woodlands

Native woodlands are an integral part of Ireland’s natural heritage, history and culture. They are unique in terms of their biodiversity, home to a host of specialised woodland animals and plants.

They provide numerous ecosystem services, including the protection and enhancement of water quality, wider habitat linkage, landscape enhancement, opportunities for outdoor recreation and interpretation, and carbon capture.

Woodland Environmental Fund

The Woodland Environmental Fund (WEF) provides an access point for individual businesses to help expand Ireland’s native woodland resource, by providing additional incentives to encourage landowners to plant new native woodlands.

It enhances the reputation of the participating business, as that business is associated with the creation of a tangible environmental asset that will become a permanent feature of the landscape. These forests will benefit society on an ongoing basis by delivering highly important ecosystem services.

Outline of the Woodland Environmental Fund

This fund operates as follows:

  1. Farmers and other landowners interested in planting native woodlands may opt into the Woodland Environmental Fund as part of their Forest Type 1 - Native Forests or Forest Type 2 - Forests for Water application.
  2. DAFM undertakes its standard evaluation procedure and, if appropriate, issues approval for the planting of a native forest.
  3. The Registered Forester working on behalf of the landowner provides a participating Natural Capital Facilitator (NCF) with details of the proposed forest. That Natural Capital Facilitator then connects with business clients that wish to contribute to the fund, and presents them with a list of native forests with planting approval.
  4. Businesses can engage Natural Capital Facilitators to describe or measure in a scientifically verifiable manner, the environmental benefits that are likely to be generated by the new native forest. 
  5. An individual business can then decide to support a particular project that best fits its requirements (e.g. size, location, types of environmental benefits, etc.).

While the business will have no ownership rights in relation to the native forest being established or to any ecosystem service (including carbon) that the woodland may provide, this information can be used by it in a variety of ways. For example, this information can be used to demonstrate the commitment of the business to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and to increase awareness amongst its employees, customers and trading partners of the benefits of native forests to society.

Grant aid

Landowners participating in the Woodland Environmental Fund will receive a once-off single payment of €1,000/ha in addition to the Forest Type 1 – Native Forests or Forest Type 2 - Forests for Water establishment grants and premiums. 

Further information