Forestry covers 11% of the Irish island, with governmental plans to increase this figure by 7% to bring the area under forestry plantation in Ireland to 19%.
While 2030 has been revealed as the initial targeted date, it is believed that it will be 2050 before this figures is achieved.
The E.U. boasts 161 million hectares of forestry; with the ability to harvest timber from 134 million hectares from this, according to European documentation.
Supporting approximately 12,000 jobs (2015 figures) with a strong contribution of €2.3 billion to the Irish economy; a main driver in exports, the Irish forestry and forestry products sector continues to snowball.
The Annual Report publishing this data was produced by IFFPA this year.
In recent years, many farmers have turned their attention to afforestation, with the 2015 figure reporting 750,000 hectares of forestry dominating Irish soil.
According to Irish Forestry and Forest Products Association, Irish forests planted from 1990 to 2020 will capture 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the air during the period 2021 to 2030.
Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme
The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme 2014-2020 is the main driving force behind the focus.
The Scheme was introduced to specifically increase the amount of area under forestry plantations in Ireland.
Fifteen years of annual forest premiums has been allocated to cover 44,000 hectares of forestry.
Putting pen to Paper
Forestry premiums of €275 per acre are made available over a time-span of 15 years.
While many farmers have secured deals for 20 years, five years ago a move was made to shorten reduce the duration by five years.
Annual payments are made their way to bank accounts in February or March annually.
‘It isn’t only poor quality marginal land that is being planted. I’ve have planted some of the country’s best landing offerings.’ Gerard of Green Belt explained.
‘In order to be eligible for a grant, farmers must have one hectare. To cover the cost, putting four hectares of land under forestry is advised.’ He added.
Gerard informed us that 2,500 conifer trees per hectare must be planted, with this increasing to 3,300 with broadleaf species.
‘Land must be re-planted once the fifteen years are up, involving that plot or a substitute plot.’ He concluded.
- €100,000 bank
- 25 acres of land for forestry
- Return of €4,000 in Premium per annum.
- 4% return of €100,000 return investment.
Grants and premiums are payable depending on land classification and GPC.