Mr. Andrew Doyle T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, yesterday announced the opening of three new support measures to support biodiversity of Irish forests. These are:
- A new scheme to support ‘Continuous Cover Forestry’, (CCF), which allows for the production of commercial timber while retaining forest cover at all times:
- A new Deer Tree Shelter and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme which aims to support landowners who wish to plant broadleaves in areas where there is a risk of deer damage;
- Changes to the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS) to introduce grant aid to carry out a second thinning intervention for broadleaf forests;
Commenting on these measures, the Minister said “these measures come directly from the Mid Term Review of the current National Forestry Programme. That Review has already shown significant improvements in the biodiversity of Irish forestry including an immediate 20% increase in the planting of broadleaf trees last year. These new measures announced today will serve to further enhance the sustainability of Irish forestry by supporting these key biodiversity initiatives. Existing and new forest owners should examine these measures closely when considering planting or the management of their existing forests.
Opening the new CCF measure, Minister of State Doyle said that, “The introduction of a new CCF option is part of my Department’s commitment to encouraging more forest owners to consider Continuous Cover Forestry as a forest management option. This initiative will transform forests into uneven-aged and permanent woodlands enriching the biodiversity of these habitats and enhancing the landscape.”
Announcing the introduction of the ‘Deer Tree Shelter and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme’ Minister of State Doyle added that “This new scheme will provide much needed financial assistance to landowners wishing to plant broadleaves in areas where there is a risk of deer damage. Provision of an additional fixed grant for deer tree shelters is included under this scheme as well as access to the deer fencing scheme when deer damage has occurred after establishment The introduction of this scheme underpins the Department’s determination to increase broadleaf planting to at least 30% of overall planting in a given year.”
On the third initiative, the changes to the Woodland Improvement Scheme, the Minister added “The existing Woodland Improvement Scheme is one of our key schemes in preserving and enhancing the biodiversity of Irish forests. The extension of the Scheme to include a second thinning intervention further demonstrates my Department’s commitment to supporting forest owners who have established broadleaf woodlands. It will have immediate environmental benefits by improving not just the broadleaf trees but also contributing to the development of shrub and ground flora.”