Forestry Programme 2023 – 2027

The new Forestry Programme 2023-2027 is set come into force in 2023, as soon as State Aid approval by the European Commission has been received. The new Programme sets out increased support for a number of schemes.  

1. Grant and Premium rates for Afforestation

    Under the new Forestry Programme premiums are to increase by between 46% and 66% depending on Forest Type established and will be paid for 20 years for farmers (15 years for non-farmer). 

      Forest Type Grant/ha Annual Premium/ haDuration(Farmers)
    FT1Native Forests€6,744€1,10320
    FT2Forests for Water *€6,744€1,14220
    FT3Forests on Public Lands**€11,044n/an/a
    FT5Emergent Forests€2,500€35020
    FT6Broadleaf, mainly oak€6,744€1,03720
    FT7Other Broadleaf€4,314€97320
    FT9Seed Orchards€10,000€1,14220
    FT10Continuous Cover Forestry€5,421€91220
    FT11Mixed High Forests: Conifer, 20% Broadleaf€4,452€86320
    FT12Mixed High Forests with mainly spruce 20% broadleaves.€3,858€74620
    *Additional payment of €1,000 per ha will be paid to landowner on completion of planting.
    **Grant includes Trails, Seats & Signage Facilities and Derelict Site payment.
    ***Grant includes Facilities payment.
    Table 1. New Afforestation Rates

    2. Environment Report and Associated Grant

    An Environment Report and Associated Grant will be available to offset additional regulatory requirements and cover the additional costs associated with environmental reports. Reports may include:

    • A pre-screening report
    • A Habitat description and map
    • An ecology report covering non-Appropriate Assessment ecology requirements.
    •  A Natura Impact Statement.
    • Archaeology Impact Assessment
    • Archaeology Monitoring Report
    • The grant rate is €450 per ha for the first hectare, €400 for the second hectare, €350 for the third hectare and €50 per hectare for subsequent hectares to a maximum of 20 hectares.

    3. Fencing Grant

    New rates for fencing have been approved under the new Forestry Programme. The maximum fencing cap is €50,000 per forest.

    Fence Type€ per metre (IS436 rates)€ per metre(Non IS436 rates)IS436(140m/ ha cap)Non IS436(100m/ha cap)
    Stock5.504.50Max €880/ha at plantation levelMax €540/ha at plantation level
    Upgrade to Deer9.008.00€1,400/ha€960/ha
    Deer18.0014.00All deer fencing must be approved in advance. Only sites where at least 70% of the area enclosed by the deer fence of FT1 to 11 is eligible.
    Deer/ Rabbit18.00New Deer fencing capped at €2,800/ha14.00New Deer fencing capped at €2,100/ha
    Table 2. Fencing Rates

    4. Agroforestry

    Three categories of agroforestry will be supported under the new programme:

    • Silvopastoral systems (trees and grass).
    • Silvoarable systems (trees and crops).
    • Forest Gardening (establishment of small-scale food forests).
    • Grant aid for Silvopastoral Agroforestry will increase to €8,555 per hectare and the premium for Silvopastoral Agroforestry will increase to €975 per hectare for a period of 10 years. 
    • Land afforested under Agroforestry will be entitled to enter the Organic Farming Scheme.

    5. Forest Roads

    • Grants for forest road construction will increase to €55 per linear metre at a density of 25 metres per ha of forest. 
    • A special construction works grant is also included in the scheme for 50% of the cost of the project up to a maximum of €10,000 per application. This covers work such as a permanent bridge or drainage pipes greater than 1 metre in diameter. 

      6. Payment for Ecosystem Services 

      A new Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) premium pilot has been developed for existing forest owners, that are out of premium payments or never received a grant payment for their forest. It is proposed that payment duration would be for 7 years.Owners will be paid these premiums where actions are undertaken that promote the longer-term sustainable management of forests. Forest owners may be able to select one (or more) options below:

       OptionRequirementsRate per ha
      PES 1Native Woodland ConservationOnly applicable to existing (non-grant aidedforests) that meet specific conditions.€500
      PES 2Continuous Cover ForestryContinuous management of forest under continuous cover forestry principles.€150
      PES 3Seed stand ManagementOpen to forest stands included as “Selected” or “Tested” on the National Register of Forest Basic Material. €500
      PES 4Environmental enhancement scheme Management of regeneration of aquatic and archaeological setbacks including actions such as:Management of regeneration of archaeological setbacks.Creation or extension of an existing setback adjoining designated areas and specific habitats.Creation of forest edge adjacent to specific habitats.Enhancement of habitat for specific species.Creation or improvement of connectivity either by planting native trees/shrubs or open areas as connectivity corridors.€150
      PES 5 People Permitting public access and creation of public access, including signage etc.€90
      PES 6Water ProtectionWater protection measures e.g.  riparian tree planting.€350
      Table 3. Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Rates

      7. Woodland Improvement Scheme 

        Under the new programme increased rates for the Woodland Improvement Scheme have been provided to support forest owners to help meet the cost of thinning broadleaf forests and broadleaf mixtures. The scheme also supports the continuous cover forestry management, coppicing and seed stand management.

        MeasuresMaximum Grant/Payment PremiumDuration
        Thinning, Tending and Agroforestry Maintenance (2 payments)€1,200n/a n/a
        Continuous Cover Forestry€1,200€1507
        Coppice and Coppice withStandards€1,200n/an/a
        Seed Stand Management €1,200€5007
        Table 4. Woodland Improvement Scheme Measures

        8. Native Tree Area Scheme

          A new small-scale native woodland scheme will allow farmers to plant up to 1 hectare of native woodland on farmland and along watercourses outside of the forestry licensing process. The Native Tree Area Scheme will be paid at FT1 and FT2 rates. Premiums will be paid over 10 years rather than 20 at a rate of €2,206 per ha annually for NTA1 and €2,284 per ha annually for NTA2.