IFA met with Shane McEntee, Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry recently to ask him to reverse decision that limited unenclosed land to 20% of total area and re-introduce old system enabled unenclosed land capable of producing a minimum Yield Class of 14 to be planted under the Afforestation Scheme.
Pat Hennessy, IFA Farm Forestry Chairman said that the restrictions introduced earlier this year on unenclosed land are too stringent and do not take into account the productive quality of certain unenclosed land.
He said unenclosed land throughout the country had a proven track record of growing quality commercial timber. This land is now being excluded under the Afforestation scheme, based on an arbitrary maximum threshold of 20% unenclosed land per application.
“This is totally unacceptable, the planting of unenclosed land should be determined by the productive capacity of the land. Unenclosed land capable of producing commercial timber crop should be grant aid under the Afforestation scheme”, said Mr. Hennessy.
He continued that planting productive unenclosed land represented value for money for the State for every one hectare of broadleaves planted, 2.5 hectares of unenclosed land could be planted for the same money.
The Government changed the Afforestation Scheme in 2011 that the amount of unenclosed land in any application for financial approval cannot exceed 20% of the total area. Unenclosed land is land that was never improved and enclosed by man-made boundaries for agricultural use other than extensive grazing.