Grants up to €1,200/ha for thinning and tending are offered under the new Woodland Improvement Scheme which has been launched today (Thursday, December 21).

The scheme is the latest element of the new Forestry Programme 2023-2027 to open for applications, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said.

Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett encouraged people to apply to the scheme to “maximise” the value of their forests.

The scheme brings environmental benefits by supporting forest owners to transition from even-aged forest management to closer-to-nature forestry, the DAFM said. 

Woodland Improvement Scheme

Forest owners can choose from five different elements in the Woodland Improvement Scheme:

  • Thinning and tending;
  • Agroforestry maintenance;
  • Continuous cover forestry (CCF);
  • Coppice and coppice with standards; and
  • Seed stand management. 

Those forest owners who applied for thinning and tending and CCF first intervention under the previous scheme, and who have not yet received approval, are being written to by the DAFM and will have the opportunity to opt-in to the new scheme at the improved rates.

Likewise, those with existing approvals under these elements, and who have not commenced work, will be offered the opportunity to opt-in to the new scheme and avail of the new rates.

Maximum grant levels

Fixed grant – €/ha (per treated hectare)  
Element 1 Thinning and Tending – First Thinning Intervention€1,200
Element 1 Thinning and Tending – Subsequent Thinning Intervention*€1,200
Element 2 Agroforestry Maintenance€1,200
Element 3 CCF First Intervention€1,200
Element 3 CCF Second Intervention€1,200
Element 3 CCF Third Intervention€1,200
Element 4 Coppice and Coppice with Standards €1,200
Element 5 Seed Stand Management€1,200
Source: DAFM

*Areas which have already received payment under the Woodland Improvement Scheme for a past thinning operation are eligible to apply again for a second intervention grant. 

Premium payments per treated hectare

Element 3 CCF Payment for Ecosystem Services €150 (for 7 years)
Element 5 Seed Stand Management Payment for Ecosystem Services€500 (for 7 years)
Source: DAFM

Full details on how to apply to the Woodland Improvement Scheme, along with grant and premium rates are available on the DAFM’s website.

“I’m delighted that we can reward timber growers and forest owners in this way, and that we can enhance our existing woodlands through sustainable forest management practices,” Minister Hackett said.