AFFORESTATION GRANTS AND PREMIUMS AVAILABLE ACROSS 12 CATEGORIES
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) 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 ha if the land is suitable for broadleaves. The minimum area for conifers is one hectare.
These grants are administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Grant and Premium Categories 1 to 8 fund the establishment of a ‘conventional’ broadleaf or conifer forest with the main objective of sustainable commercial timber production.
Of these, GPC 3 is the most popular choice for many landowners establishing new forests. The main species is Sitka spruce.
Douglas fir is an example of a diverse conifer species (GPC 4) that can produce a high quality and valuable timber, suitable for a range of end uses. Another example would be Scots pine.
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.
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.
As mentioned earlier, 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 or from www.teagasc. ie/forestry.
Once your forest has been established, on-going financial support is available to better manage your forest; including support to build a forest road, to protect and improve existing native woodlands, to thin a broadleaf forest, etc. But that’s a topic for another time.
Have a chat with your Teagasc Forestry Adviser to see if creating a forest is something for you. This advisory service is objective, independent and free of charge. You don’t need to be a client of Teagasc to avail of this service.
Further detailed grant information is also available from www.teagasc.ie/forestry.