Forest Service finally announced the re-opening of the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme in September 2015, following it’s long suspension during the recession. Certainly it was long overdue.
The Native Woodland Conservation Scheme, promotes the appropriate restoration of existing native woodland (including the conversion of non-native forest to native woodland), through the provision of financial support to forest owners towards the cost of appropriate works. It prioritises protected and designated sites of high ecological importance.
The objective is to rejuvenate the woodland, creating a dynamic, sustainable forest. Operations generally involve a selective thinning to remove exotic, dead or dying trees. The aim of the proposed harvesting operations is to improve the age, species, and structural diversity of the woodland. Owners can achieve this by opening up the canopy to facilitate natural regeneration. This allows the woodland to progress with well-developed canopy, sub-canopy, shrub and ground layers which will greatly improve the habitat range of the site. Enrichment planting of a wide-range of native trees and shrub species can be used to improve and supplement the natural regeneration. The grant also allows for protection of the trees such as deer-fencing or tree-shelters.
The Grant Scheme
The scheme covers the improvement of High Forest and Emergent Woodland. It is a cost based scheme with funds of up to €3800 per hectare available.
The Native Woodland Conservation Scheme is based on submitted costs. It provides the woodland owner with a premium payment of €350 per hectare per year for 7 years.
Ecoplan Forestry are specialists in the management of Native Woodland Conservation projects.
This scheme gives woodland owners an opportunity to conserve our native woodlands and our national heritage. Not just for now but for future generations to enjoy. Our native woodlands must be conserved, protected, improved and given a value, or what incentive is there for their owners to retain them?