Doyle unveils new measures to improve forestry biodiversity

The opening of three new measures to support biodiversity of Irish forests were announced today (Tuesday, January 22) by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle.

Commenting on these measures, the minister said that they come directly from the mid-term review of the current National Forestry Programme.

These new measures will serve to further enhance the sustainability of Irish forestry by supporting these key biodiversity initiatives.

According to Minister Doyle, the review has already shown “significant” improvements in the biodiversity of Irish forestry – including a 20% increase in the planting of broadleaf trees last year.

“Existing and new forest owners should examine these measures closely when considering planting or the management of their existing forests.”

The new measures are as follows:
  • A new scheme to support ‘Continuous Cover Forestry’ (CCF), which allows for the production of commercial timber while retaining forest cover at all times;
  • A new Deer Tree Shelter (DTS) and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme which aims to support land owners who wish to plant broadleaves in areas where there is a risk of deer damage;
  • Changes to the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS) to introduce grant aid to carry out a second thinning intervention for broadleaf forests.

Opening the new CCF measure, Minister Doyle said that: “The introduction of a new CCF option is part of my department’s commitment to encourage more forest owners to consider Continuous Cover Forestry as a forest-management option.

This initiative will transform forests into uneven aged and permanent woodlands enriching the biodiversity of these habitats and enhancing the landscape.

Announcing the introduction of the Deer Tree Shelter and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme, Doyle added: “This new scheme will provide much needed financial assistance to landowners wishing to plant broadleaves in areas where there is a risk of deer damage.

“Provision of an additional fixed grant for deer tree shelters is included under this scheme as well as access to the deer fencing scheme when deer damage has occurred after establishment.

“The introduction of this scheme underpins the department’s determination to increase broadleaf planting to at least 30% of overall planting in a given year.”

On the third initiative, the changes to the Woodland Improvement Scheme, the minister explained: “The existing Woodland Improvement Scheme is one of our key schemes in preserving and enhancing the biodiversity of Irish forests.”

Concluding, Doyle explained: “It will have immediate environmental benefits by improving not just the broadleaf trees but also contributing to the development of shrub and ground flora.”


Details on the forestry schemes can be found here.

The CCF scheme is limited to 30 projects (maximum 10ha in size) up until the end of the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020.

Approval will be on a first-come, first-served basis, once specified documents have been submitted.

The minimum stocking where trees are in DTS is 625 trees/ha in diverse conifer or broadleaf plots.