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?
Centuries of clearance and over-exploitation have reduced the once extensive native woodland of Ireland to the remnants we can now see. Instances of old native woodlands continue to be found as little isolated stands. These are mainly in regions with weak soils which were not normally suitable for agriculture. However, some areas exist in old estates where they are managed for timber and as protection for game. Native woodland has also grown in the Midlands on pasture in uplands, and cutaway bog, particularly in recent decades.
Many of our native forests could have existed since post-glacial times (ancient or long-recognized woodlands). Hence, these have a broader variety of native flora and fauna, many of which are unique to these regions and not seen in modern commercial plantations. The woodlands are an essential habitat in a landscape which is increasingly controlled by intensive agriculture and as a result are the focus of nature conservation and biodiversity improvement.
Native woodlands, as the name suggests, are comprised of native tree species. Native woodlands are mainly broadleaved in Ireland. Examples are oak, ash, alder and birch and Scots pine. Native conifer woods are extremely scarce, the very best case being the yew wood in the Killarney National Park on the Muckross Peninsula.
Foresters now recognise their value as hot spots for native biodiversity and now perceive native woodlands in another light. Regional woodlands are being produced in riparian areas adjacent to lakes, rivers and streams to protect water courses from siltation and eutrophication. These places may also provide corridors for wildlife to move through and link the landscape aspects of biodiversity.
CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION
Several initiatives were undertaken recently to restore and enlarge our native woodlands. Each has led to our knowledge of the best way to preserve and manage the native woodland resource. Ecologists, Foresters,and other stakeholders have developed and executed significant strategies for the restoration of native woodlands. A few of these initiatives are listed below:
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)
Restoration work with the native woodlands was first initiated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This organisation manages about 5,000ha that symbolizes the finest of the native forests that have been named as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or nature reserves.
Overgrazing by livestock and wild deer present real risks to the future existence of a few of these woods. Most noteworthy the oak forests of the Glengarriff Nature Reserve, as well as the Killarney National Park. Restoration work continues but despite the price, issues and the size of the job the risks are being checked.
Folks’ Millennium Forests
The Woodlands of Ireland undertook this job; a group set up by the Heritage Council to focus attention. The group also recognized new native woodlands and restored historic woods. A native tree was planted on behalf of each family in Ireland and a certificate was published to any or all houses giving details in regards to where trees were to be found in the Family Tree Scheme. The trees were planted within the restoration of the native woodland communities which contain nature trails, woodland walks, interpretative and recreational facilities.
Native Woodland Scheme
Finally, The Native Woodland Scheme (NWS) is geared toward protecting, improving and enlarging Ireland’s native woodland resource and related biodiversity, through proper planting and direction. The system also supports the growing of quality hardwood lumber in friendly areas. The system consists of two independent components: Conservation concentrating on guarding and improving existing native woodland, and Establishment creating new native woodland.
Ecoplan specialise in the management of Native Woodlands. So, if you are interested in establishing, managing or learning about Native Woodlands, get in touch with Ecoplan Forestry using our Contact page http://ecoplan.ie/contact-us/
Ecoplan specialise in Forest Estate Management, where our goal is to improve the woodland according to a long-term management plan while providing a reliable sustainable income. Professional Forest Estate Management is essential in order to maximise the potential of your woodland, whether your objective is financial, aesthetic, or biodiversity.
We manage a number of Irelands finest Estates where our honesty, reliability and results are greatly appreciated. For more information, please go to the contacts page.