The government today announced a massive increase in payments landowners can receive for planting forests.
The premiums for planting trees are to be increased by 46 to 66 percent and extended to 20 years for farmers.
The government’s proposed €1.3 billion investment in Irish forestry comes amid record planting rates in recent years and the urgent need to add forestry as a climate action.
The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said the government’s commitment to such a substantial financial package reflects the seriousness with which we view the challenges of climate change and biodiversity that affect all of society.
“Forestry is central to achieving our sustainability goals and strong support is needed to foster engagement from all of our stakeholders to achieve our goals.”
Minister of State for Forestry Pippa Hackett said one of the main goals of the new program is to get farmers back into forestation.
“I am therefore pleased to propose a new 20-year premium term exclusively for farmers and to introduce a new small-scale native forest scheme, allowing farmers to grow up to 1 hectare of native forest on farmland and along watercourses outside of the forest permit process .”
The proposed new forest program is currently undergoing public consultation as part of the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment and Appropriate Assessment Process.
Proposed new measures include a 20 percent native species component mandatory for all coniferous forest types, including Sitka spruce.
The annual target for deciduous trees is to be increased from 30 to 35 percent of the total annual planting.
A new measure called ’emergent forest’ is offered under the reforestation scheme, which provides support for the conservation and appropriate management of suitable ‘bush’ areas.
In addition, it proposes the creation of a native tree locale that will reflect new legislation that will facilitate small-scale planting of areas of native trees without first obtaining a afforestation license.
The new program is also intended to offer 7-year premiums to pilot-based forest owners in certain circumstances who are out of premium payments or have never received a subsidy payment for their forest.
Owners receive these bonuses when measures are taken that promote longer-term sustainable management of the forests.
Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue said Ireland is entering a new and exciting period for forestry.
“The new forest program will drive a new and brighter future for forestry, for farmers and for our climate.”
“We intend to increase tree planting premiums by 46% to 66% and extend the premium period for farmers from 15 to 20 years.
The new program is financed 100% from the state budget and is subject to the approval of the EU Commission under state aid law.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/massive-increase-in-payments-for-planting-forests-42115840.html Massive increase in payments for planting forests