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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of Ireland

02/12/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/12/2024 02:18

Minister Hackett Launches Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, has today launched the new Native Woodland Conservation (NWC) scheme to support the restoration, conservation and enhancement of existing native woodlands.

The scheme has been developed and implemented in partnership with Woodlands of Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Heritage Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and other native woodland stakeholders.

Minister Hackett said:

"Ireland's native woodlands are a precious resource. Our existing native woodlands support a wide variety of ecosystem functions and services. They protect and enhance our biodiversity, soil and water quality, while mitigating the challenges that we face through climate change. I am delighted that we can reward and support native woodland owners so that they can manage and conserve these forests. The NWC scheme supports "close to nature" forest management that brings benefits for nature, water quality and climate. It creates opportunities for implementing traditional forms of woodland management that form part of our countryside heritage, as well as for the provision of local amenities and opportunities for woodland and environmental education."

Minister Hackett continued:

"Through the new Forestry Programme 2023-2027, the Native Woodland Conservation scheme will support forest owners to deliver these multiple benefits. I have introduced increased grants of €6,000 per hectare for restoration and enhancement works, along with an increased payment for Ecosystems Services of €500 per hectare every year for 7 years."

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Many of Ireland's native woodlands have been under-managed. The NWC Scheme provides support to woodland owners to tackle such under-management, and to promote the sustainability of forest and woodland habitats through appropriate restoration measures, which will be identified following a careful assessment of the woodland and its needs by an ecologist and a registered forester.

Those forest owners who applied for the Native Woodland scheme under the previous Forestry Programme 2014 -2020, and who have not yet received approval, along with those with existing approvals under the previous scheme, and who have not commenced work will receive correspondence advising them of their options in the coming week.

Full details on how to apply, along with grant and Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) premium rates, are at Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

Grant: €6,000 per/ha for Private High Forest

Grant: €3,000 per/ha for Public Forest

Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) premium payment Native Woodland Conservation €500/ha

Conservation projects typically involve steps such as the removal of individual or groups of non-native trees, removal of invasive exotics and protection against deer or livestock.

The Government of Ireland recognises that taking action on climate change, restoring and protecting nature, and improving our water and air quality is central to Ireland's social and economic development, and to ensuring a good quality of life for everyone.

You can view The Climate Action Plan 2023 and its annex of actions HERE or visit www.gov.ie/climateaction. Click here to subscribe to the Government of Ireland's Climate Action newsletter.