Minister launches new forestry programme
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, launched the start of the 2017-18 forestry planting season at a south Wicklow tree nursery last week.
The forestry programme has invested over €2.5 billion in rural Ireland since 1990 which has resulted in over 300,000 hectares planted with trees.
The Minister of State launched the start of the season at the None-So-Hardy Nurseries in Shillelagh.
'Forestry plays a huge economic, environmental, social, and recreational role in Ireland and I am delighted that we are continuing our support for new forests again this year,' said Minister Doyle. 'The current Afforestation Scheme offers huge benefits to landowners and is an ideal opportunity to plant trees as part of your farming enterprise.
'Applications are now invited under the Scheme under which 100 per cent of the costs of establishment are covered by the Department and 15 guaranteed annual premium payments are also available. Over 13,000 Irish farmers received a forestry payment in 2016, while Departmental records indicate that the most popular planting option attracts an annual guaranteed premium of €510 per hectare.'
The Minister also drew attention to the range of options available to interested landowners.
'There are 12 planting categories under the Afforestation Scheme to suit all scenarios and preferences including native woodland establishment, forestry for fibre, which has a short 15 year rotation, and agro forestry where agriculture and forestry can co-exist on the same land. The Afforestation Scheme (incorporating Native Woodland Establishment, Agro-Forestry and Forestry for Fibre), the Forest Roads Scheme, the Woodland Improvement (Thinning and Tending) Scheme, the Seed Stand and Seed Orchard Scheme, and the NeighbourWood Scheme are all currently open and I will shortly be launching the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme.'
The Minister of State encouraged landowners to seriously consider forestry, saying that it didn't have to be an alternative to agriculture and could instead by regarded as a complimentary activity.