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"DAFM Approves 586 Applications Under Ash Dieback Scheme as Part of New Forestry Programme"

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has granted a total of 586 approvals under the Reconstitution of Ash Dieback Scheme, a key component of the new Forestry Programme launched in July 2023. According to the latest Forestry Licensing Dashboard released by DAFM, 381 of these approvals were issued this year up to the week ending on Friday, May 17. This marks a significant milestone, covering a combined area of 1,375 hectares of ash forest.

Under the Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme 2023-2027, owners of ash forest stands are entitled to compensation of €2,000 per hectare for site clearance. Additionally, they can receive between €3,858 and €8,555 per hectare for replanting activities, depending on the forest type chosen. Notably, the dashboard data reveals that 479 hectares of new afforestation have been successfully planted this year, reflecting progress in the scheme’s objectives.

However, it is important to note that the total afforestation figures only account for plantings that have received initial grant payments this year, as clarified by DAFM. The agency reported a total of 1,729 valid applications for forestry licences thus far this year, with 1,261 licences being issued. Among these, 276 were afforestation licence applications, with 190 being approved, allowing for plantings across 1,513 hectares. In May alone, approvals for planting on 308 hectares have been granted.

To meet the government’s annual planting target of 8,000 hectares outlined in the Climate Action Plan, DAFM would need to issue licences for approximately 667 hectares per month. The Native Area Tree Scheme has seen 211 approvals issued year-to-date, enabling new plantings on 226 hectares. This initiative empowers farmers to plant up to one hectare of native woodland without the need for a licence, or up to two hectares along a watercourse.

In the most recent update, DAFM disclosed that nine planting licences, 30 forest road licences, 25 private felling licences, and five Coillte felling licences were issued. Of these, five felling licences were granted for thinning activities on 152 hectares, while clear-felling licences were issued for 253 hectares. The forestry sector’s progress under the current schemes underscores the ongoing efforts to manage and enhance Ireland’s forest resources.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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