AF­FORESTA­TION GRANTS AND PRE­MI­UMS AVAIL­ABLE ACROSS 12 CAT­E­GORIES

Irish Independent - Farming - - FORESTRY -

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.

Pre­mi­ums

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.

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