Native Woodland Conservation

Native Woodland Conservation Title Image

Native Woodland Conservation

Native Woodland Conservation

At Ecoplan Forestry Ltd, we are the only forestry company dedicated to the conservation of Native Woodlands in Ireland. Our expert team understands the importance of preserving Ireland’s natural heritage and works tirelessly to protect these valuable ecosystems. Through our sustainable forestry practices, we aim to create a greener future for generations to come.

This page is all about Native Woodland Conservation and the Conservation Scheme, but we also have pages on Native Woodland Establishment/Planting, and Native Woodland Management.

Preserving Ireland’s Natural Heritage

Ireland is home to diverse and unique native woodlands, rich in biodiversity and historical significance. However, these woodlands face numerous threats, including habitat loss, invasive species, and unsustainable land management practices. At Ecoplan Forestry Ltd, we are committed to preserving Ireland’s natural heritage by implementing effective conservation strategies.


picture of Native Woodland Conservation underplanting with tree-shelters

Our Approach to Native Woodland Conservation:

At Ecoplan Forestry Ltd, we employ a comprehensive approach to native woodland conservation, combining expertise, innovation, and a deep respect for nature. Our strategies are designed to ensure the preservation and enhancement of native woodlands while promoting sustainable land management practices.

Expert Team: Our team consists of highly skilled professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in native woodland conservation. We stay updated with the latest research and employ best practices in our conservation efforts.

Preservation Strategies: We develop and implement tailored preservation strategies for each woodland, considering its unique characteristics and requirements. Our approach focuses on the restoration of degraded woodlands, the protection of existing healthy woodlands, and the creation of new woodlands where suitable.

Biodiversity Conservation: We prioritize maintaining and promoting biodiversity within the woodlands. Our conservation efforts aim to protect endangered species and their habitats, enhance ecosystem resilience, and create thriving habitats for a wide range of native flora and fauna.

Sustainable Forestry: Our practices adhere to sustainable forestry principles, striking a balance between economic, social, and environmental factors. We promote selective harvesting techniques, ensuring the long-term viability of woodlands while providing timber products sourced responsibly.

Community Engagement: We actively engage with local communities, landowners, and stakeholders to foster a sense of ownership and stewardship. Through educational initiatives and collaborative partnerships, we raise awareness about the importance of native woodlands and the benefits they provide to society.

Grant Opportunities:

We understand that funding plays a crucial role in native woodland conservation projects. As part of our commitment to supporting conservation efforts, we work closely with relevant authorities and explore grant opportunities to secure funding for eligible projects.

The Native Woodland Conservation Scheme, administered by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture for the Irish government, offers financial support for native woodland conservation projects.

Rates of payment

Grants are paid for approved restoration works. There is also a 7-year annual premium payment for private applicants. The rates are as follows:

Owner type

NWS Conservation category

1st grant

2nd grant

Total grant/ ha

Annual Premium

Private land owner

Existing ‘High forest’ woodland (incl. existing conifer canopy)





Private land owner

Emergent Native Woodland





Public land owner

Public Woodland





These grant rates help cover the costs associated with activities such as site preparation, tree planting, invasive species control, fencing, and ongoing maintenance.

At Ecoplan Forestry Ltd, we have extensive experience in securing grant funding for native woodland conservation projects. We can guide you through the application process and assist in maximizing your chances of receiving the available grants.


Woodland Management

Woodland Management

Top 10 benefits of the Irish Native Woodland Conservation Scheme:

  1. Biodiversity Conservation: The scheme contributes to the preservation and restoration of native woodlands, which are important habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species, helping to conserve Ireland’s biodiversity.
  2. Habitat Restoration: By focusing on the conservation of native woodlands, the scheme facilitates the restoration of natural habitats, providing suitable conditions for native flora and fauna to thrive.
  3. Ecosystem Services: Native woodlands provide essential ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water filtration, and soil stabilization, contributing to the overall health and functioning of ecosystems.
  4. Climate Change Mitigation: Native woodlands act as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus helping to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Water Quality Improvement: Woodlands play a vital role in filtering and purifying water, helping to improve water quality by reducing sedimentation, nutrient runoff, and pollutants entering water bodies.
  6. Soil Conservation: Native woodlands help prevent soil erosion, protect soil fertility, and maintain healthy soil ecosystems, contributing to sustainable land management and agricultural practices.
  7. Scenic and Recreational Value: Conserving native woodlands preserves the natural beauty of landscapes, providing scenic vistas and recreational spaces for outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, and nature appreciation.
  8. Cultural and Historical Significance: Native woodlands are often associated with cultural heritage, traditional land use practices, and historical sites, contributing to Ireland’s cultural identity and sense of place.
  9. Education and Research Opportunities: The conservation scheme offers educational and research opportunities, enabling the study of woodland ecosystems, biodiversity, and ecological processes, benefiting scientists, students, and the wider public.
  10. Community Engagement: The scheme encourages community participation and engagement in conservation efforts, fostering a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility for native woodlands, promoting community cohesion and well-being.

These benefits highlight the importance and value of the Irish Native Woodland Conservation Scheme in preserving and enhancing native woodlands and their associated ecological, cultural, and societal benefits.

Ireland’s Native Woodland Types:

In Ireland, various types of native woodlands can be found, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some of the different types of native woodlands in Ireland along with brief descriptions:

  • Oak Woodland: Oak woodlands are widespread and diverse, characterized by dominant oak species such as sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). They support a rich understory of plants and provide habitats for a wide range of species.
  • Ash Woodland: Ash woodlands feature ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) as the dominant species. They occur in wet and dry habitats, supporting a diverse understory and providing important habitats for birds, insects, and other wildlife.
  • Wet Woodland: Wet woodlands occur in low-lying areas with high moisture levels. They often consist of species such as willow (Salix spp.), alder (Alnus spp.), and birch (Betula spp.). These woodlands help regulate water flow, provide nesting sites for birds, and support a range of wetland species.
  • Hazel Woodland: Hazel woodlands are characterized by the presence of hazel (Corylus avellana) as the dominant shrub species. They often occur as understory vegetation beneath larger trees and provide valuable habitat for small mammals, birds, and insects.
  • Mixed Broadleaf Woodland: Mixed broadleaf woodlands feature a diverse composition of native broadleaf tree species, including oak, ash, birch, rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), and others. These woodlands provide a varied habitat structure and support a wide array of flora and fauna.
  • Upland Woodland: Upland woodlands are found in mountainous and hilly regions of Ireland. They often consist of species such as rowan, birch, and willow, adapted to the challenging upland conditions. Upland woodlands offer important habitats for upland birds and other wildlife.
  • Peatland/Bog Woodland: Peatland woodlands occur in areas with peat soil, such as bogs and fens. They comprise species adapted to the waterlogged and nutrient-poor conditions, including willows, birches, and bog-loving shrubs. Peatland woodlands provide unique habitats for specialized plants and animals.
  • Atlantic Oak Woodland: Atlantic oak woodlands are found along the western coastal regions of Ireland. They consist of oak species, particularly sessile oak, often intermixed with other native broadleaf species. Atlantic oak woodlands are ecologically important and support a diverse range of flora and fauna.
  • Floodplain/Alluvial Woodland: Floodplain woodlands occur along riverbanks and floodplain areas, experiencing periodic flooding. These woodlands contribute to flood regulation, provide nesting sites for birds, and offer diverse habitats for various species adapted to both wet and dry conditions.
  • Scrub Woodland: Scrub woodlands are characterized by dense shrub vegetation, often consisting of species such as hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), and gorse (Ulex europaeus). Scrub woodlands support a range of wildlife, including nesting birds and small mammals.

These are just a few examples of the different types of native woodlands in Ireland, each contributing to the country’s ecological diversity and providing essential habitats for a wide range of species.


Ecoplan Continuous Cover Native Woodland showing young ash tree among mature oak trees

Frequently asked questions about Ireland’s Native Woodland Conservation Scheme:

Q: What is Ireland’s Native Woodland Conservation Scheme?

A: Ireland’s Native Woodland Conservation Scheme is a program designed to protect, restore, and enhance native woodlands in the country through various conservation measures.

Q: Why is it important to conserve native woodlands?

A: Conserving native woodlands is important because they support biodiversity, provide habitat for native species, contribute to climate change mitigation, and offer various ecosystem services.

Q: Who is eligible to participate in the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme?

A: Landowners, farmers, community groups, and organizations who own or manage native woodland areas in Ireland may be eligible to participate in the scheme.

Q: What types of support are provided through the conservation scheme?

A: The scheme offers financial support, advice, and guidance to participants for activities such as woodland management plans, habitat restoration, tree planting, and invasive species control.

Q: How does the conservation scheme contribute to biodiversity conservation?

A: The scheme focuses on preserving and restoring native woodlands, which are vital habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species, helping to safeguard Ireland’s biodiversity.

Q: Can I receive financial assistance for native woodland restoration?

A: Yes, financial assistance is available through the scheme to support activities related to native woodland restoration, including tree planting, habitat improvement, and ecological surveys.

Q: Are there any restrictions or guidelines for managing native woodlands under the conservation scheme?

A: Yes, participants are expected to follow certain guidelines and best practices for sustainable woodland management, including restrictions on clearing or felling native trees without authorization.

Q: How can I get involved in the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme?

A: To get involved, you can contact the relevant government department or forestry agency responsible for administering the scheme to inquire about eligibility and the application process.

Q: Are there any educational or training opportunities associated with the conservation scheme?

A: Yes, the scheme may provide educational resources, workshops, or training programs to promote awareness, understanding, and good woodland management practices among participants.

Q: What are the long-term goals of Ireland’s Native Woodland Conservation Scheme?

A: The long-term goals of the scheme include increasing the area of native woodland, improving woodland quality, enhancing biodiversity, and engaging communities in conservation efforts.



Please download and share this infographic, and spread the word about Native Woodland Conservation, and the Conservation Grant Scheme:

An infographic showing all relevant details about the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme in a clear, easy-to-read, format

Contact Us:

Ready to contribute to Ireland’s native woodland conservation efforts? Contact Ecoplan Forestry Ltd today to learn more about our initiatives, the grant opportunities available, and how you can get involved. Together, let’s protect and preserve Ireland’s natural heritage for a sustainable and greener future.


Sean McGinnis Ecoplan Forestry Web Signature

You can read the small print about this Scheme on the Departments Website