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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Planning Your Plantation
Establishing Your Plantation
Plants and Plant Quality
Management of Young Farm Forests
Shaping Broadleaves
Threats to Irish forests from exotic pests and diseases
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  • Private Sector Content >> Private Sector Content

    Coillte is Ireland’s largest and most experienced integrated Forestry Company. We are involved in all aspects of timber production from the sourcing of seed, the production of quality nursery stock, planting, maintenance, harvesting and marketing. Our subsidiary company Smartply Europe limited is the largest processor of pulpwood in the country. As the largest landowners on the island of Ireland, we have a presence in every parish offering employment locally, where other traditional jobs are diminishing.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    The Forestry Premium Scheme

    A ‘farmer’ is a person who must satisfy each of the following conditions:

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    IS MY LAND SUITABLE FOR TREES?
    Not all sites are suitable for planting. The land to be planted must
    • be in agricultural use prior to planting,
    • not be part of an existing or proposed NHA (Natural Heritage Area) or an SAC (Special Area of Conservation), or an SPA (Special Protection Area),
    • conform to Forest Service environmental and planning guidelines (See Planning and Environmental issues),
    • have soil suitable for growing trees, in particular the pH or lime level can restrict the species which may be planted or render the area unsuitable for planting. This is common in midland areas and generally means that a Forest Soils Test will be required.…

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Ground Cultivation Methods
    The most important reason for cultivating ground prior to planting is to provide a suitable planting medium for the trees. Soil-type, slope and drainage conditions will dictate the most suitable method of cultivation.

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  • Private Sector Content >> Private Sector Content

    Good quality planting stock is critical to the successful establishment of your future plantation. For this reason you should always check your plants to ensure that they conform to your requirements and to a high quality standard..

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Maintenance should start on all sites once the trees are planted. Key tasks include operations such as weed control, replacing tree losses and ensuring that the crop remains healthy and vigorous. All young plantations should be maintained so that:

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    The most commonly planted broadleaved trees in Ireland are ash, sycamore, oak and beech. The lower section of the trunk is the most valuable part of these trees. This is the portion of the tree, which yields the greatest financial return. Particular attention should be paid to stem quality over the first 4 years during which time stem height is likely to reach between 2.0 to 4.0 metres. A quality stem in a young broadleaved tree is one which is straight and unforked, with no particularly heavy branches distorting it.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Forest Service

    ish forests are among the healthiest in Europe with relatively few serious forest pests and diseases. This is mainly due to our island status, the relative newness of the forest estate and the enforcement of plant health regulations. The increasing movement between countries of plant material and wood products such as logs, sawn timbers, pallets, packing cases and ship’s dunnage increases the risk of spread of potentially very damaging forest pests and diseases. The threat to Irish forests is best illustrated by the damage caused by Dutch Elm Disease which was introduced into Ireland and which has devastated our elm tree population. It is vital that our increasingly valuable forest estate is protected from similar exotic threats.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Nutrient Deficiencies
    The nutrient requirements of trees are low in comparison to most agricultural crops. However, sufficient nutrients must be continuously available to achieve good growth rates and high yields. As trees develop, the need for fertiliser will depend on the soil type and tree species planted. Trees growing on infertile peaty or mineral soils may display symptoms of nutrient deficiency after a number of years. These deficiencies can occur despite correct fertiliser application at planting time. It is important to walk your plantation and monitor trees regularly for any of the following:

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Many areas of land throughout the countryside contain existing degraded woodland or scrub which have received little or no management in the past. Such areas may be eligible for grant aid under one of the Forest Service schemes.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Thinning increases the total volume yield of usable timber over the lifetime of the crop and provides an intermediate source of timber and revenue before clearfelling. Before making the decision on whether to thin the plantation, a qualified forester should be employed to assess the crop. The decision to thin is dependent on a number of factors: species and age, ground conditions, degree of access, availability of markets, suitable machinery and skilled labour.

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  • Private Sector Content >> Private Sector Content

    -The current emphasis on biodiversity or nature conservation arises from global concerns for the quality of our environment. The word “biodiversity” is a combination of the words “biological” and “diversity”, and refers to the range of plant and animal species that live on this planet.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    ‘Maireann an craobh ar an bhfail ach ní maireann an lámh a chur’
    The tree outlives the person who has planted it.

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    Sustainable Forest Management
    Why and who benefits?

    Over the past number of years, there has been a steady increase in the number and complexity of rules and regulations with regard to forest plantations in Ireland. Many farmers regard these regulations as a disincentive to setting up a farm forest enterprise. Why then are these regulations in place?

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  • Teagasc Main Content >> Teagasc Main Articles

    The Forest Service of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources is the State body with overall responsibility for forestry in Ireland. The Forest Service oversees the spending of EU financial supports for forestry. It is also responsible for the promotion of private forestry, for forest protection, control of felling and the promotion of research in forestry and forest produce.

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Grants and Premiums Explained
Written by Donal Keegan, Forest Service, Galway   
Thursday, 03 July 2003

The Forest Service of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources is the State body with overall responsibility for forestry in Ireland. The Forest Service oversees the spending of EU financial supports for forestry. It is also responsible for the promotion of private forestry, for forest protection, control of felling and the promotion of research in forestry and forest produce.

Since 1981, a number of financial support programmes for private forestry, mainly funded by EU support, have greatly increased the level of afforestation in the country. This support for forestry continues in the new CAP Afforestation Scheme 2000-2006 under the Rural Development Plan. The two most important financial incentives for forestry are the Afforestation Grant Scheme and the Forestry Premium Scheme. These schemes are part of the accompanying measures to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and support the afforestation of agricultural land.

The Afforestation Grant Scheme
The Afforestation Grant is cost based and is designed to cover all the actual costs of establishing a plantation. As it normally takes four years to fully establish a plantation, this grant is paid in two instalments, up to 75% of the full grant after the initial work is completed, and the remaining 25% after four years, provided that the plantation is satisfactorily established. These two payments of the Afforestation Grant are referred to respectively as the First Instalment Grant and the Second Instalment Grant.

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The Afforestation Grants are calculated to cover all the costs of establishing a plantation under normal circumstances, up to certain maximum levels according to species of tree and land types planted. The table showing these maximum grant rates is given below.

The First Instalment Grant is calculated to cover the following operations in the initial establishment of the plantation:

• Ground preparation and drainage.
• Scrub clearance (subject to Forest Service Biodiversity Guidelines).
• Cost of plants and planting.
• Cost of fertiliser and application.
• Fencing costs including gates and stiles.
• Fire protection.
• Initial weed control.
• Cost of supervision and overheads.

The Second Instalment Grant is paid when the plantation is adequately established. Maintenance operations normally include vegetation control, fertiliser, drain and fence repair, replacement of failures and formative shaping of broadleaves.
Anybody who plants agricultural land (subject to meeting the conditions of the scheme) is eligible for the Afforestation Grants. There is no difference in rates between farmers and non-farmers. There are differences in maximum grant rates according to species of tree planted and these reflect the higher costs involved in establishing broadleaves and some conifers.

Again, it is worth stating clearly that these Afforestation Grants, both the First and Second Instalments, will only be paid if all the work carried out is up to Forest Service standards and if all the conditions of the scheme are met.

The Forestry Premium Scheme
The forestry premium payments are annual, income-tax free payments to individuals who have planted land under the Afforestation Grant Scheme as described previously. There are two rates of payment under this scheme, a farmer rate and a non-farmer rate. The non-farmer rate is paid annually for 15 years and the farmer rate is paid annually for 20 years. The farmer rate is substantially higher than the non-farmer rate. The annual premium is due for payment following approval of the First Instalment of the Afforestation Grant. It is paid annually thereafter.

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Once approved, the premium payments will continue on a plantation at the appropriate rate providing the plantation continues to be adequately maintained. Failure to maintain the plantation satisfactorily will result in premium payments being suspended until remedial work is completed. While inadequate maintenance normally becomes evident at inspection for the Second Instalment of the Afforestation Grant, the Forest Service can inspect a plantation at any stage, and premium payments may be suspended immediately if all is not in order. A schedule of premium payments is given in table 2.

There are seven different rates of payment for farmers and two for non-farmers, depending on trees planted and land quality. In addition, on enclosed land and for farmers only, there is a top-up payment of €12.70 per hectare if the plantation is 6 ha or over or an additional €25.40 per hectare if the plantation is 12 hectares or more.

For example, if a farmer plants 14 hectares with a mix of conifers, mainly Sitka spruce and 20% Japanese larch to include 10% broadleaves, then the annual premium payable for 20 years is €417 per hectare. The premium will be paid annually for 20 years provided that the applicant qualifies for the farmer rate of premium payment and that the plantation is satisfactorily established and maintained.


The Application Process
Anyone wishing to plant some land under the Afforestation grant scheme must have prior written approval from the Forest Service before proceeding. Any development that proceeds without such approval is ineligible for grant assistance.

All applications for approval for Afforestation grant and Forestry Premium payments must be accompanied by a planting proposal and plan prepared by an approved forester. A list of approved foresters is available from the Forest Service or Teagasc. The plan submitted by the approved forester must contain a completed application form, a site location map, proposed species maps and cultivation plan. All possible environmental considerations must also be addressed.

Environmental Considerations
All forestry development proposals must be both silviculturally desirable and compatible with the protection of the environment. All applications will be checked for environmental sensitivity and the approval process may include liasing with the fisheries boards, local authorities and Dúchas.

Approval
When the application is processed and approved, a letter issues from the Forest Service detailing the conditions of approval and the specifications for the proposed development. The applicant can then proceed with the work.

Summary
The two most important schemes which support private forestry are the Afforestation Grant Scheme and the Forestry Premium Scheme. Both these schemes are administered by the Forest Service of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. The Forest Service Inspectors are responsible for setting the standards and monitoring these schemes on the ground.

Both these schemes have conditions which all applicant must meet. It is important that every applicant ensures that they are aware of these conditions and how they relate to their own situation before planting.

Payment of the Afforestation Grants and Premiums will be made only if a plantation has been carefully established and is being managed properly. It is the person applying for these payments who is responsible for this, not the contractor or forestry company.

There are also a range of other grant schemes administered by the Forest Service which may be available for private forestry, e.g., Roading , High Pruning, Woodland Improvement, Native Woodland Scheme, Neighbourwood Scheme, Reconstitution of Woodland and Harvesting grants.

Further information on all the schemes can be obtained from:

Forest Service
Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
Johnstown Castle Estate
Wexford

LoCall 1890 200 223

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 January 2007 )
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