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5. Forestry

AFFORESTATION GRANTS AND PREMIUM LEVELS

The Afforestation Grants and Premium Schemes are designed to cover 100% of the cost of establishing new forests, with grants of up to €7,154.00 per hectare available for this purpose and annual premiums up to €527.94 per hectare for up to 20 years. Expenditure on these schemes is entirely nationally funded. The Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) offers a supplementary annual premium of up to €200.00 per hectare payable for up to 5 years in addition to the Afforestation Premium. Payment of FEPS is dependent on the farmer remaining in REPS.

Fixed Grant Rates (applies to sites with completion dates on or after 01.01.08)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC) Fixed rate for 1st Instalment
Grant - €/ha
Fixed rate for 2nd Instalment
Grant - €/ha
Total Fixed Rate Grant €/ha Fencing Maximum Allocation €/ha
GPC 1 - Unenclosed 2,190.65 873.35 3,064 350
GPC 2 - Sitka Spruce/Lodgepole Pine 2,190.65 873.35 3,064 350
GPC 3 - 20% Diverse Mix 2,349.60 873.40 3,223 350
GPC 4 - Diverse 2,634.52 942.48 3,577 350
GPC 5 - Broadleaf (except oak and beech) 3,549.67 1199.90 4,749.57 450
GPC 6 - Oak 4,809.25 1,660.82 6,470.07 450
GPC 7 - Beech 5,288.87 1,865.13 7,154 450

The rates shown above are the maximum amounts payable. The grant covers the cost of the plantation to the establishment stage and is paid in two moieties, one of 75% following planting and the second instalment grants of 25% are paid 4 years later subject to satisfactory establishment.

Maximum Premium Levels (effective from 01.01.09)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC) Afforestation Premium (€/ha)
  Farmer rate <6ha Farmer rate >=6ha Farmer rate >=12ha Non-farmer rate Per ha
GPC 1 - Unenclosed/All Species 221.66 221.66 221.66 181.35
GPC 2 - Enclosed/Sitka spruce/Lodgepole Pine 355.99 369.43 382.85 181.35
GPC 3 - Enclosed/20% Diverse Mix 413.76 427.20 440.62 181.35
GPC 4 - Enclosed/Diverse 440.62 454.06 467.48 181.35
GPC 5 - Enclosed/Broadleaf (other than Oak and Beech) 467.50 480.94 494.36 194.79
GPC 6 - Enclosed/Oak 501.08 514.52 527.94 194.79
GPC 7 - Enclosed/Beech 501.08 514.52 527.94 194.79
FEPS PREMIUM - ANNUAL ADDITIONAL PAYMENT YEARS 1-5
  FEPS Premium (€/afforested ha)
Total Farm Area (including area to be planted) <=30 ha
planted >=5and < 8
<=30 ha
planted >= 8
>30 ha
GPCs 1, 3 - 7 150 200 200

Full particulars of the grants can be obtained from Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford. Tel: 053 9160200, Lo-call: 1890 200 223, Fax: 053 9143834

ENVIRONMENT

It is a condition of grant-aid, under the 2007-2013 Programme that development be compatible with the protection of the environment. Environmental considerations at the time of application include water quality, designated habitats, archaeology, landscape and size of area. Public agencies and the general public are consulted in relation to applications for forestry grants in areas of special environmental sensitivity.

Guidelines have been produced on:

  • "Forestry and Archaeology";
  • "Forestry and Water Quality";
  • "Forestry and Biodiversity";
  • "Forest Harvesting and the Environment ";
  • "Forestry and the Landscape";
  • "Forest Protection";
  • "Forestry and Aerial Fertilization Requirement" (SI Nos. 592/2006 and 790/2007);
  • "Forestry and Freshwater Pearl Mussel".

Diversity in planting and the planting of broadleaves, in particular, is encouraged by means of the differentials of the grant scheme. The target for broadleaf planting of 30% of total new planting was achieved by the end of the last programme in 2006 and is being retained as an annual target for the 2007-2013 Programme. The Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS), introduced on a pilot basis in 2007 and subsequently revised in 2008, is designed to encourage the planting of high nature value forestry on REPS farms.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is mandatory for applications to afforest areas of 50 hectares or more and may also be required for smaller areas where a proposed development is perceived as having a significant environmental impact. All applications below 50 hectares in size are subject to a detailed Screening Procedure to assess the need for such an EIA.

Local authorities are consulted on all afforestation applications over 25 hectares and are consulted on all afforestation applications within a prime scenic area in the County Development Plan or within an area listed in the Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes.

FORESTRY PROGRAMME 2007-2013

The Forestry programme includes the following:

  • an Afforestation Scheme for both agricultural and (for the first time) non-agricultural land;
  • the Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS): To encourage planting of high nature value forestry on REPS farms;
  • the Native Woodland Scheme, to promote the planting and conservation of Ireland's native woodland species;
  • the Neighbourwood Scheme, to create new opportunities for the establishment of amenity woodlands;
  • a Woodland Improvement Scheme, promoting the thinning and tending of established forests in order to maximise economic potential;
  • a Forest Roads Scheme;
  • a Forest Reconstitution Scheme, providing a basis for replanting where required.

FORESTRY PROMOTION AND TRAINING

The overall objectives of the work undertaken by Forestry Division in relation to Forestry Promotion and Training are:

  • To promote knowledge on the sustainable management of forests;
  • To support vocational training;
  • To improve the overall performance and competitiveness of forests;
  • To help forest owners to increase their knowledge of forest management;
  • To raise awareness of the many benefits of forestry, and
  • To promote the development of Forestry Producer Groups.

For further information contact the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford. Tel: 053 9160200 Lo-call: 1890 200 223 Fax: 053 9143836

FOREST RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Forest Research is co-ordinated by the Research Division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food while the Development work is undertaken within the Forestry Division.

The Department is assisted in this work by COFORD Council, an advisory body consisting of representatives from the forestry sector, in order:

  • To establish and strengthen links between research and industry;
  • To advise on forest research needs to maintain international competitiveness;
  • To provide sustainable employment, encourage innovation and enhance environmental services, and
  • To monitor research programmes and information transfer to ensure maximum benefit.

The Department provides funding, under the National Development Programme 2007-2013, for research and development in the forestry sector under the following programmes:

  • Research and Development Programme:
    Grant aid for public good research and development in support of the overall competitiveness and public good contribution of the forest sector in Ireland;
  • Networking and Knowledge Transfer Programme:
    Grant aid for researcher training and mobility and for seminars and workshops based on research and development findings, with the overall objective of improving forest research competence and performance;
  • Information Transfer Programme:
    Effective transfer of forest R&D findings through events, publications and web media in support of the overall competitiveness and public good contribution of the forest sector in Ireland.

The following services are also provided:

  • Climate change and forests - www.coford.ie
    Highlights the role of forests in climate change mitigation;
  • GROWFOR - Modelling and valuing forest growth - www.coford.ie
    Increases the return to the state and the grower from forests;
  • Windthrow - Estimating windthrow probability in forest plantations in Ireland - Reduce the cost and incidence of windthrow damage in forests in support of sustainable forest management;
  • Woodspec - specifier's guide to Irish timber
    Increase the use of wood products in construction, drawing on R&D findings;
  • Wood Energy - www.woodenergy.ie - www.woodspec.ie
    Develop the wood energy sector in Ireland in accordance with government policy on increasing the use of renewable energy.

For more information contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6072487/6072559, All services are listed under the Tools and Services tab at www.coford.ie

FOREST POLICY SECTION

Forest Policy Section has responsibility for a wide range of policy issues at both national, European (including EU) and international level. At national level, the Policy Section currently deals with issues pertaining to: climate change and carbon sequestration, wood energy, forestry and the environment, legislative framework and liaison with stakeholders including other Government Departments and Agencies.

At European and international level, the Section is responsible for the transposition of EU Directives and Regulations into Irish law as well as representing the Forest Service at the European Council Working Party on Forests, Standing Forestry Committee and Forest Europe events and meetings.

For further information contact the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford. Tel: lo-call 1890 200 220 or 053 9160180

FOREST SERVICE APPEALS PROCEDURE

The Appeals procedure in the Forest Service is handled by an administrative unit of the Forest Service. Customers may appeal against any decision of the Forest Service which affects their entitlements under the grant and premium schemes. The majority of appeals handled by the Unit relate to refusal of pre-planting approval and refusal or reduction in grants.

The public and environmental organisations also have the facility to appeal against afforestation proposals in certain environmentally sensitive sites. Under environmental Regulations in place since 2001, there is a very extensive consultation process which must be undertaken by the Forest Service before it approves afforestation in areas designated as environmentally sensitive. Press notices are placed in local papers to invite observations of the public on afforestation proposals in areas designated as any of the following:

  • A proposed Natural Heritage Area, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area or a National Park;
  • An area containing an archaeological site or feature with intensive public use;
  • A prime scenic area in a County Development Plan or listed in an Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes.

Local Authorities and environmental organisations are also consulted directly about these applications. If the public or any of these organisations object to the planting proposal their observations and objections are taken into consideration in the deliberations of the Forest Service on the proposal. If the decision on the proposal means that their objections were not upheld, they are offered an opportunity to appeal within 21 days.

Appeals related to public consultation procedure must be lodged within 21 days of receipt of the Forest Service decision.

Appeals against any other decisions affecting a customer's entitlements under the grant and premium schemes should be lodged as soon as possible after notification of the adverse decision by the Forest Service.

All appeals must be made in writing, setting out the grounds of appeal and addressed to: The Appeal Unit, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford. Lo-call 1890 200 223

CONTROL OF FELLING

Under Section 37 of the Forestry Act, 1946 it is illegal to uproot a tree over ten years old, or cut down a tree of any age, or injure a tree of any age without a Felling Licence. Notice of intention to fell or uproot trees must be given in writing on a form known as a Felling Notice. On receipt of a completed Felling Notice, an Order prohibiting the felling of the trees is issued. This protects the trees in question while consideration is given to the issuing of a felling licence. Any person uprooting or cutting down a tree without a felling licence may be prosecuted through the Courts. Penalties for illegal felling can be severe and in addition to any fine imposed by the Court, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food may, by Order, also require the person convicted to replant. Landowners should note that the granting of Planning Permission does not give permission to fell trees; a felling licence still needs to be applied for before felling of any trees on the site.

A Felling Notice can be obtained from any Garda Station or directly from Felling Section, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford; Tel: (053) 9160170/9160174/9160175/9160181 or from the Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice  

FOREST PEST AND DISEASE PROTECTION - IMPORT REGULATIONS

The Forest Service is responsible for implementing the forestry aspects of Council Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community. The Forest Service implements the provisions relating to wood, wood packaging material, forest plants and Christmas trees. Early detection of a newly introduced pest or disease is essential and forest owners and the forest industry are encouraged to be ever vigilant in detecting such introductions. If any unusual pest or disease is observed, please contact the Forest Service. The following services are available:

  • Registration of importers (importing from non EU Countries) of controlled wood, wood products and forest plants;
  • Registration of producers of forestry material such as forest nurseries;
  • Forest pest and disease diagnostic service;
  • Advice on import regulations concerning wood, wood packaging, forest plants and Christmas trees;
  • Issuing of Phytosanitary Certificates for exports of forestry material.

For further information concerning the above please contact, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Agriculture House (3 West), Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 6072651, Fax: 01 6072545, e-mail: forestprotection@agriculture.gov.ie Web: www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice  

WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL (PALLETS, CRATES, ETC) - EXPORT REGULATIONS

In relation to exports, the Forest Service is responsible for the implementation of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15, Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade. ISPM No. 15 describes phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with wood packaging made of raw wood, in use in international trade. In practice, wood packaging material (pallets, crates, boxes etc.) made from unprocessed raw wood, and used in supporting, protecting or carrying goods of all kinds, must be heat treated in a specified manner and the packaging must be stamped on at least two sides with the officially approved mark verifying the heat treatment and incorporating the registration number of the producer of the packaging. The following services are available in relation to ISPM No. 15:

  • Registration of kiln operators and producers of wood packaging material;
  • Advice to wood packaging producers and kiln operators concerning ISPM No. 15;
  • Advice to exporting companies concerning ISPM No. 15.

For further information concerning the above please contact, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Agriculture House (3 West), Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 6072651, Fax: 01 6072545, e-mail: ispm15@agriculture.gov.ie , Web: www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice  

FOREST REPRODUCTIVE MATERIAL

Forest Reproductive Material (FRM) is a collective term to describe seeds, plants and cuttings which are important for forestry purposes. The Forest Service is responsible for implementing Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of FRM. The aim of the legislation is to ensure that FRM which is marketed from approved suitable sources and is clearly labelled and identified throughout the entire process from seed collection to processing, storage, plant production and delivery to the final end user.

The following services are available:

  • Registration of suppliers of forest reproductive material - seed collectors, nurseries, seed and plant importers;
  • Registration of seed stands;
  • Issuing of Seed Collection Permits and Certificates of Provenance for seed collections;
  • Advice on forest seed and plant regulations.