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RDS Forest and Woodland Awards 2017

Celebrating the best forests and foresters in Ireland

Please note: closing date for entries is 14 July 2017.

The 'RDS Forest and Woodland Awards' are Ireland’s national forestry awards. They recognise and reward farmers and woodland owners who are employing the principles of Climate-Smart Agriculture on their properties including sound commercial management, environmental protection and encouragement of biodiversity.

The twin goals of promoting the economic and environmental benefits of good forestry and farming is the underlying motivation behind these Awards. The goal of the RDS Agriculture and Rural Affairs programme is to promote best practice and efficiency in farming to ensure farm household profitability and sustainability in Ireland. The RDS has been involved in forestry since the 1740s with many of Ireland’s oldest remaining forests originally planted on foot of RDS grants (or premiums as they were known). The Awards continue the RDS tradition of involvement in forestry by highlighting excellent Irish farmers and communicating what they are able to accomplish through the application of best practice and innovative management techniques.

With a prize fund of €15,000, all woodland owners and managers are encouraged to enter the Awards as all woodlands, large or small, are of merit.

Four categories

  1. Production Forestry
    This category is divided into two sections; under 15 hectares and over 15 hectares. It is open to farmers and landowners using sound silvicultural management on their farms. This award aims to recognise excellence in the management of production forestry. While the focus is on the management of the area for wood production, judges will also take into account diversity of species, particularly the presence of native trees such as Ash, Birch, Oak, Willow, etc., to ensure greater efficiency and quality in the development of the sector.
  2. Multipurpose Forestry
    This category is open to individuals and organisations that are expanding or developing existing or new forest habitats through natural and environmentally sensitive methods. Judges will take into account the planning and management of the area, ecological awareness, social benefit, silvicultural methods, control of grazing animals and invasive species, as well as sensitive felling and thinning.
  3. Teagasc Farm Forestry Award 
    The Teagasc Farm Forestry Award is a new category introduced for 2017 that aims to promote the sustainable use of land that incorporates both farming and forestry. This category aims to promote the positive contribution that forestry can bring to traditional farming practices and also increase the number of trees that are being planted to help minimise agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. For further details, see below.
  4. Community Woodlands
    This category is designed to encourage and reward projects involving community woodlands and forests which have been established and managed in a sustainable way that is beneficial to the landscape, the local people, ecological biodiversity and the economy. This Award is open to woodland owners or managers from the public and voluntary sectors. 

The Teagasc Farm Forestry Award

Criteria:

Aim to recognise excellence in sustainable use of land that incorporates both farming and forestry.

  • Minimum farm forest area: 4 hectares, no maximum limit
  • Year of planting: forest must be planted for at least 5 years and no older than 15 years
  • Entry must be managed in conjunction with a working farm where the farmer is actively involved with the management of the woodland
  • Previous first place award winners (in last 4 years) are not eligible

Requirements:

  • Include images, a site map and clear location map of forest with application form
  • Provide name of nearest town/village and distance from same on location map
  • Indicate total farm area and acreage of forest planted
  • Indicate primary farming practice
  • Indicate species planted, if more than one species include the % of each
  • Indicate if inspection paths have been made through the forest/woodland
  • Copy of management plan, where available, otherwise outline intentions/ideas for the development of the forest/woodland
  • Description of how applicant has incorporated forestry on the farm and why the entry would be a worthy winner

Prizes:

  • Category Winner: Award of €2000 and RDS Silver Medal
  • Runner–Up: Award of €1000 and RDS Certificate of Merit

Application form:

Completed Entry Form, Layout Plan, and Location Map should be returned to on or before Friday, 14 July 2017:

  • post: RDS-Forest Service Irish Forest and Woodland Awards, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; or 
  • email: forestry@rds.ie 

Please note the judges may wish, but are not obliged, to inspect the woodland following a study of the completed entry form. 

Further information