The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has issued 145 afforestation licences so far this year, relating to 1,076ha.

The most recent Forestry Licensing Dashboard published by the department shows 22 licences were issued in the first two weeks of this month.

The department granted 42 afforestation licences during the month of March.

The Social, Economic, Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA) said that there was a “welcomed improvement” in afforestation licence numbers last week.

“With 17 licences issued, it is only slightly short of the amount required to reach the annual target and is the second-best week of the year so far.

“However, if these weeks are possible, why have they only been achieved twice this year?

“We call on the government for transparency. They must explain why failure is the status quo when competency is possible, and why they have done nothing to change this,” SEEFA said.

Under the Climate Action Plan, the government is aiming to afforest 8,000ha annually to 2030.

Up to mid-April, 293ha of forestry was planted, however, the department noted the figures for trees planted reflect afforestation that had been paid at first grant stage this year to date only.


The latest data shows that 52 afforestation licences covering 365ha, previously granted, are now approved under the new scheme, while 120 licences have been issued under the Native Area Tree Scheme (NTAS).

The department has issued 323 private felling licences in the period up to April 12, along with a further 224 felling licences to Coillte.

278 roads licences have been issued to cover some 94km, which has already exceeded the 87km granted in all of 2023.

The data also shows that 311 applications have been granted under the Reconstitution of Ash Dieback Scheme covering 1,148ha.

55 applications have been approved for the Deer Tree Shelter Scheme (DTS), along with 24 applications for the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS).

The department said that 23 appeals have been received this year in relation to afforestation, 10 for tree felling and three for forestry roads.