The Continuous Cover Forestry Scheme provides financial support to help forest owners manage their woodland in a way that opens up the canopy and creates new habitats for wildlife. The scheme helps to create an uneven canopy structure with the aim of producing high quality, high value logs.
These objectives are met through:
improvement felling of poorer quality trees
felling of additional trees to release potential frame trees
pruning to improve stem quality
thinning or re-spacing to promote growth and management and re-spacing of natural regeneration
Continuous Cover Forestry is an alternative forest management approach where the forest canopy is maintained at one or more levels without clearfelling. The distinctive element of Continuous Cover Forestry is the avoidance of clearfelling areas greater than 0.25 ha, or more than two tree heights wide without the retention of some mature trees.
How to qualify
You must be over 18 years of age and hold a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). Companies must provide their company registration details (CRO number).
Applicants must be the owner, leaseholder or joint manager of the land at the time of the application. Exceptions to this rule will only apply where:
the owner is deceased and a legal representative submits the application
the owner consents in writing to the submission of the application in the name of a designated third party
Every effort should be made by registered foresters to ensure that multiple applications by the same applicant are not submitted.
All grant aided conifer and broadleaves forests including broadleaved mixtures are eligible for funding. In mixture crops the stand must be managed so that the best possible trees are selected as future crop candidates regardless of species.
This element of the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS) will provide funding for conversion of existing forests to Continuous Cover Forestry over a 12 year transitional period. Successful applicants are eligible for three WIS payments (€750) for three separate interventions.
Support will be available for the following work:
Preparation of updated inventory and FMP/Transformation management plan
Improvement felling of malformed trees
Pre thinning tree marking
Felling of additional trees to release frame trees
Thinning or re-spacing to promote growth
Management and re-spacing of natural regeneration
Enrichment planting where it is necessary in lieu of natural regeneration
Preparation of a site-specific CCF management plan by a CCF forester
Ground preparation, where appropriate (such as light scarification to facilitate natural regeneration)
Forest protection (fencing, tree guards and other measures)
Clearance of invasive species such as laurel and rhododendron
Costs associated with non-commercial tree felling, where appropriate (such as tree felling on highly sensitive parts of the site, where alternative, non-conventional techniques are required, including manual felling in riparian zones
Woodland rejuvenation (including understory and coupe planting, natural maintenance (including vegetation management)
Woodland edge management
Maintenance of open spaces, rides and glades
The restoration of former coppice or coppice-with-standards woodland to active coppice management
Permanent sample plot Inventory
On application, other related operations, may be approved.
Applications must be accompanied by an existing Forest Management Plan and the Transformation Management Plan.
Rate of payment
The scheme involves a Continuous Cover Forestry Transformation Management Plan that will run for a period of 12 years with three installments of €750 occurring at intervals throughout the 12 year period.
The first installment will be at year 1 with the final payment issuing within 12 years from the date of completion of works relating to the first intervention.
The middle payment can be paid at any stage during the intervening period. The schedule of payments and timing of these interventions are to be described within the Transformation Management Plan.
The following grant aid is available under the scheme:
Fixed Grant - €/ha (per treated hectare)
Aid for Continuous Cover Forestry will be granted solely in connection with duly justified and substantiated costs.
Forest owners who have already received one Woodland Improvement Scheme grant can apply for two Continuous Cover Forestry installments (the first installment at any stage within 4 years from year 12 and the second and last installment in year 12).
The scheme is limited to 30 projects (maximum 10 hectares in size) up until the end of the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020 and priority may be given to suitable sites of environmental or landscape significance on a first come first served basis.
An application for approval for Continuous Cover Forestry under the Woodland Improvement Scheme is considered valid when the following completed documents have been received by the Department:
Application for approval - Form 1
Location and species map
Existing Forest Management Plan
Transformation Management Plan
Tax clearance certificate
The applicant and a Continuous Cover Forestry Registered Forester must complete the application form following a site visit and detailed field assessment.