Farmers, private landowners, and companies involved in forestry in Ireland can now take advantage of a new payment scheme aimed at preventing damage from deer. Under the Forestry Programme, an €18/m payment is available for fencing off forestry areas to protect against deer damage. This payment has been expanded to cover forest types (FT) 1-7 and can be accessed prior to the second installment payment if evidence of deer damage greater than 40% of previously planted areas is provided.
The first seven forest types eligible for this payment are as follows: FT 1 – Native forests; FT 2 – Forests for water; FT 3 – Forests on public land; FT 4 – Amenity woodlands for local communities (‘NeighbourWoods’); FT 5 – Emergent forests; FT 6 – Pure broadleaves (oak or beech); FT 7 -Other broadleaves. However, the payment will not be available for agroforestry (FT 8).
The €18/m payment is applicable to Irish Standard 436 (IS436) fencing materials at a rate of 160m/ha, with a maximum payment of €2,880/ha for new deer fencing. IS436 materials must meet specific standards related to permitted timber species, post sizes and diameters, timber preservatives, pre-treatment drying requirements, and labelling and traceability of the end product. There is also a payment available for non-IS436 materials at a rate of €14/m, at 150m/ha, with a maximum payment of €2,100/ha.
Additionally, there is a separate payment available for upgrades to existing deer fencing. For IS436 materials, the rate is €9/m at 160m/ha, with a maximum payment of €1,440/ha. For non-IS436 materials, the rate is €8/m at 120m/ha, with a maximum payment of €960/ha. All fencing materials used must comply with the specifications and standards outlined in the Forestry Standards Manual.
To be eligible for these payments, fencing upgrades and new fencing must be clearly indicated on a fencing map, including the total length in meters. It is important to note that forests are not eligible to enter this scheme after the second installment grant, except in cases where the reconstitution of ash is taking place.
In addition to deer, the payment scheme also covers fencing-off forested areas from hares. A payment of €4/m, up to a maximum of 160m/ha (equivalent to a maximum payment of €640/ha), is available for forests that have been subject to hare damage prior to the approval for the second installment grant. Forests must have at least 30% hare damage to be eligible. Similar to the deer fencing payment, forests are not eligible to enter the hare fencing scheme after the second installment grant, except in cases where the reconstitution of ash is taking place.
This new payment scheme aims to support farmers, private landowners, and companies involved in forestry by providing financial assistance to protect their investments from deer and hare damage. It encourages responsible land management practices and helps ensure the long-term sustainability of Ireland’s forestry industry.