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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Strong interest in 2014-2020 forestry grants programme

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

The Forestry Programme 2014-2020 has generated strong interest since its launch by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in January 2015.

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The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme supports forest establishment, designed to accommodate a variety of sustainable timber production, social and environmental objectives.

The afforestation option now incorporates 12 different grant and premium categories (GPCs), providing options including productive conifer and broadleaf species, native woodland initiatives, and agroforestry and forestry for fibre options.

GPC 3 (10pc diverse mix) is the category of choice for many landowners establishing new forests, which attracts an annual premium of €510 per hectare over 15 years. It usually comprises a mix of Sitka spruce together with at least 10pc diverse conifers. Broadleaves adjacent to roads and/or watercourses may also form part of this 10%.

Options are also available for those wishing to diversify their species range. 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.

GPCs 5 to 8 provide options for broadleaf planting, depending on the species selected.

Landowners interested in expanding our native woodland resource may do so under GPCs 9 and 10, depending on the most appropriate woodland type.

The recently launched Native Woodland Conservation Scheme is to support the appropriate restoration of existing native woodlands and, where appropriate, the conversion of existing non-native forest to native woodland.

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As you may remember from one of my previous articles, GPC 11 supports the establishment of silvopastoral agroforestry - the combination of forestry and pasture. It allows farmers to farm conventionally while growing a timber crop in the same field.

If you're interested in any one of the above grant aided forestry options, why not book your place in the upcoming Teagasc Forestry Clinics?

Details of this wide array of GPC options and associated funding are also available from the Teagasc forestry website at: www.teagasc.ie/forestry.

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