The new Forestry Programme 2023-2027 will come into force in 2023 subject to State Aid approval from the EU Commission. This process is ongoing, and all stakeholders will be updated on progress as the State Aid application moves closer to completion. Detailed discussions are ongoing so that the new Forestry Programme can be launched as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the Minister has approved an interim solution for the Ash die-back scheme, namely: Interim Reconstitution Scheme for Ash-dieback (via General De Minimis)
This scheme is being offered to those applicants that on 31/12/22 held a valid technical approval for the Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme (RUS), but have not commenced reconstitution work and do not wish to wait until the launch of the Forestry Programme 2023 - 2027.
Features of the scheme are:
Enhanced site clearance grant rate, increased to €2,000
Enhanced grant rates as per draft Forestry programme 2023-2027
Those applicants whose sites are still in premium will continue to receive the premium due for the remaining years.
In addition, for those in receipt of farmer rate of premium, a top up premium equal to the difference between the equivalent FT and the existing premium will be paid. This will be calculated for the remaining years left in premium and paid in a single sum.
For those in receipt of non-farmer rate of premium a top up €300 will be paid per hectare for the remaining period left in premium and paid in a single sum.
The scheme has been published and is available on the Department's website: www.gov.ie/forestry ; see information under Forestry grants and schemes Circular 04/2023 Page 2 of 2 De Minimis De Minimis payments must be cumulated with other forms of de minimis aid, including de minimis aid received through the agriculture sector and/or other sectors (Commission Regulation (EU) No 1408/2013). In these cases, the threshold is €200,000 over three fiscal years. The terms and condition for both schemes are available on the DAFM website at: www.gov.ie/forestry; see information under Forestry grants and schemes.
Next Steps: If an applicant with a valid approval wishes to await the launch of the Forestry Programme 2023 - 2027, no further action is required. If an applicant with a valid approval wishes to opt-in to the interim scheme they must:
Sign up to the terms and conditions of the Interim Reconstitution scheme for Ashdieback (via General De Minimis).
Sign a De Minimis declaration.
Declare which Forest Type(s) they are applying for.
Relevant forms are attached to the 'Forestry Early 2023 Interim Arrangements -FAQs' which is available on www.gov.ie/forestry
Irish Timber Growers Association highlight role of forests in achieving Ireland’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Goals
Minister with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, launched the 2023 ITGA Forestry and Timber Yearbook. In welcoming the Yearbook publication, it’s 34th edition, the Minister stated, 'The 2023 ITGA Forestry and Timber Yearbook provides a wealth of information for those already involved in forestry and especially those considering planting in 2023. People across the country are currently considering planting trees following the announcement of the new €1.3bn forestry programme last month. It has never been more important for us to work together to encourage people to plant the right tree, in the right place.' The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) Chairman, Brendan Lacey, thanked the Minister and said, 'As a sector, forestry is ideally placed to form a core part of agriculture in Ireland, enhancing its sustainability through offsetting agricultural emissions, sequestering carbon and increasing biodiversity. Forestry is central to achieving our national climate change mitigation, biodiversity, water protection and rural development goals.' He outlined that the Yearbook highlights the many attributes of forestry including its economic, environmental and social importance through the articles and statistical information in the publication. Donal Whelan of the Irish Timber Growers Association said that the 2023 Forestry and Timber Yearbook is one of the most important sources of information for the sector and it also highlights the sector’s profile nationally. The Yearbook contains 208 pages of invaluable information for timber growers, forestry professionals, the timber industry and the general public. Brendan Lacey also thanked Coillte, the Murray Timber Group and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the main Yearbook sponsors, and the various companies, organisations and individuals who continue to support its publication.
Minister Hackett launches the 2023 ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook. Pictured (from left to right) Patrick Murray (Murray Timber Group, Co-Sponsor of the Forestry Yearbook), Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Forestry, and Donal Whelan (ITGA); Photo: Mechteld Schuller
The new Forestry Programme 2023-2027 will come into force in early 2023 subject to State Aid approval from the EU Commission. This process is ongoing, and all stakeholders will be updated on progress as the State Aid application moves closer to completion. The Department is currently considering and integrating feedback from stakeholders and the public further to the public consultation held from October to November and, subject to State Aid approval, will launch the new Programme as soon as is allowable. In the meantime, the Minister has approved an interim solution for afforestation and roads.
PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue took place in Dun Laoghaire 12th May 2022
In an interview ahead of the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue, Dr Dorothy Maxwell, Sustainability Director at Davy Horizons and a moderator at the Stakeholder Dialogue, said, "What I'm most looking forward to at the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue are practical and informed discussions on the crucial role of forests and certification to support net zero emissions by 2050."
Tomorrow's Timber Starts Today - Dr Pablo van der Lugt
ITGA call for Carbon payments for landowners who plant trees
The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) have made a further call for a mechanism to facilitate Carbon payments for landowners in Ireland who plant trees. This call follows recent research findings in papers co-authored by Dr David Styles of NUI Galway which highlight the significant role forestry can play in assisting Ireland achieve Carbon neutrality.
ITGA have made the case that woodland creation and sustainable forest management should be a source of income for growers through their carbon storage capability. This possibility is a reality in the UK, through their Woodland Carbon Code which provides reassurance about the carbon savings that companies can achieve by being associated with woodland planting projects. A Forest Carbon Code could be established in Ireland which would provide a quality assurance standard for woodland and tree planting projects and generate independently verified carbon units. Such units could then be sold to companies and others who wish to show that they are mitigating their Carbon emissions through Voluntary Carbon Offsets.
Donal Whelan of the Irish Timber Growers Association stated that, 'there is now a large worldwide market for such Voluntary Carbon Offsets and Ireland will miss out on this opportunity if we don’t establish such a credible and verifiable Forest Carbon Code'.
With the European Green Deal which aims to protect, conserve, and enhance the EU's natural capital, and protect the health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts, those who plant trees and woodlands should be enabled to secure additional income for storing carbon. Afforestation, agro-forestry, and other tree planting initiatives can accommodate these aims and in so doing also complement other farming activities.
The EU Commission has the objective of making the EU the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. With this aim, it's Farm to Fork Strategy highlights the example of a "new green business model", where farmers who remove CO2 from the atmosphere and contribute to climate neutrality should get rewarded.
'There is real potential for afforestation, agroforestry and other tree planting schemes to potentially sell additional voluntary carbon offsets to remunerate our landowners for planting trees and woodlands with all the additional environmental and ecological benefits this would also provide'.
ITGA are now calling for a Forest Carbon Code to be established in Ireland supported by Government that will facilitate such a credible Voluntary Carbon Offsets scheme for tree planting.
ITGA Template Tree Sales Agreement
Private grower are now selling more timber from their forests and the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) is currently updating and revising the ITGA Template Tree Sales Agreement which contains best practice and standard procedures in timber harvesting and timber sales.
Forest owners and buyers can adapt this template to a particular timber sale. The template agreement is structured under various headings for clarity and ease of use.
The terms and conditions are designed to cover a range of potential sale situations and forest types and include definitions, warranties, payment terms, rights of access, harvesting operational procedures and controls, indemnity and insurance, compliance, risk, health & safety issues, environmental conditions, force majeure and an arbitration clause.
In the recent past the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have circulated this Template Tree Sales Agreement with Tree Felling Licences to assist growers in the thinning, felling and sale process. It is always prudent to use a good contract and get professional forestry and relevant legal advice before embarking on a timber sale.
The current Template Tree Sales Agreement is available from the ITGA website (www.itga.ie) and is widely employed. The use of this template agreement in timber sales is considered best practice and has been approved as certification compliant. It has also been one of the mandatory topics of the DAFM funded Knowledge Transfer Groups (KTGs) since the roll out of the KTG programme in 2018.
It now requires updating and revision to ensure continued compliance with current legislation, DAFM requirements, forest certification and new environmental requirements.
ITGA recently received funding from DAFM under the Woodland Support Projects 2021/2022 to undertake the revision of the ITGA Tree Sales Agreement and is consulting and seeking comments, observations and suggestions on it’s updating and revision.
Minister Hackett launches 2022 ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook
Minister with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, launched the 2022 ITGA Forestry and Timber Yearbook. In welcoming the Yearbook publication, it’s 33rd edition, the Minister said: ‘Given the Climate and Biodiversity crises we are facing, there has never been a more important time for us to work together to get the most from our trees. We need forests and woodlands in Ireland, for our communities, our climate, our biodiversity and our timber industry. We also need to get people planting, which is why the amount of information contained in the 2022 ITGA Forestry and Timber Yearbook is so helpful. It is essential reading for anyone who is either involved in forestry or considering planting and I want to commend the work of those who put it together.’
Pictured at the launch (from left to right) Pat Neville (Coillte, Sponsors of the Forestry Yearbook), Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Forestry, Donal Whelan (ITGA), Brendan Lacey (Chairman ITGA), Donal Magner (Editor of the Forestry Yearbook), and Patrick Murray (Murray Timber Group, Sponsors of the Forestry Yearbook)
The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) Chairman, Brendan Lacey, thanked the Minister and said that,‘As a sector, forestry is ideally placed to form a core part of agriculture in Ireland, enhancing its sustainability through offsetting agricultural emissions, sequestering carbon and increasing biodiversity.’ He outlined that the Yearbook highlights the many attributes of forestry including its economic, environmental and social importance through the articles and statistical information in the publication.
Donal Whelan said that the 2022 Forestry and Timber Yearbook is one of the most important sources of information for the sector and it also highlights the sector’s profile nationally. The Yearbook contains 208 pages of valuable information for timber growers, forestry professionals, the timber industry and the general public. The mainstay of the publication is the industry statistics and the directory of services.
The ITGA Chairman concluded by saying that, ‘We cannot stress enough the importance of forests in terms of climate benefits, health benefits, locally grown timber for much needed housing, recreation and also food. The dramatic decline in tree planting in recent years must be reversed to achieve these beneficial goals and to meet our climate change mitigation targets.’ Brendan Lacey also thanked Coillte, the Murray Timber Group and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the main Yearbook sponsors, and the various companies, organisations and individuals who continue to support its publication.
Yearbooks can be purchased onlinefor €14.90 (incl P&P)
Winners RDS 2021 Irish Forestry and Woodland Awards announced
The 2021 RDS Irish Forest and Woodland Awards presentation took place today in Dublin. The Awards are organised by the RDS with support from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. Minister Pippa Hackett and RDS President Professor J. Owen Lewis were on hand to present these prestigious Awards.
For a list of winners, see the RDS website www.RDS.ie.
Minister Hackett launches roundwood production forecast 2021-2040
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced the publication of the All Ireland Roundwood Production Forecast 2021-2040. The Report was prepared by COFORD, the Council for Forest Research and Development.
The forecast predicts that the annual potential roundwood supply will increase from 4.9 million in 2021 to 7.9 million cubic metres by 2035, followed by a small decrease to remain constant at about 7.6 million cubic metres up to 2040.
There is an online tool accompanying the forecastthat allows users to generate their own regional forecast for an area of interest specified by the user. The portal facilitates the dissemination of comprehensive volume forecast information in an accessible, reproducible and transparent way.
PEFC Ireland commenced Public Consultation on IFCS
60-Day Public Consultation Period on the revised Irish Forest Certification Standard (3rd Edition) has now commenced.
An online template of the draft is available to view, download and comment on and can be downloaded HERE (The IFCS Revision Consultation Template is a Word file with Green Shaded Comment Boxes for Stakeholder Comments. Please only use the Green Shaded boxes for your comments i.e. do not make annotations in the draft documentation.)
Closing date for Stakeholder Submissions is: 29th August 2021
RDS 2021/22 Irish Forestry and Woodland Awards - Entries Now Open
With a prize fund of €9,000 the awards promote the economic, environmental and social benefits of good forestry and farming. From magnificent historic woodlands, to innovative commercial forests, the awards reveal inspiring examples of the benefits and diversity of forestry in Ireland. The RDS is proud to play its role in highlighting the best in Irish forest and woodland management and showcase the vast potential that forestry offers rural Ireland.
Teagasc Farm Forestry Award
Community Woodlands Award
For details on how to apply contact the RDS Agriculture Foundation on 01-2407215 or see the RDS website www.RDS.ie/agriculture.
Entries for the 2021/22 Awards are now Open. Closing date for entries has been extended to Tuesday 10th August 2021
DAFM releases Update on Public Consultation on Forestry Projects
The Department has announced that it is making a change to the way in which Forestry projects that require Appropriate Assessments under the Habitats Directive are assessed