Two grant schemes for planting trees in NI have re-opened for new applications.

Both the Forest Expansion Scheme and the Small Woodland Grant Scheme were launched on Wednesday, with the closing date for applications set for 31 August 2022.

The two schemes are part of DAERA’s Forests For Our Future programme, which aims to plant 18m trees and create 9,000ha of new woodland in NI by 2030.

“I am pleased that in the last year landowners planted 525ha of new woodland under forestry grant schemes support. This is an encouraging response on our journey to increase the level of afforestation needed to reach the targets,” said Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots.

Under the Small Woodland Grant Scheme, a payment worth £2,925/ha is available for establishing new native woodlands in areas of 0.2ha and larger.

The Forest Expansion Scheme is for planting at least 3ha in native woodland, mixed woodland, or commercial conifer forest. Successful applicants can receive up to 100% of costs associated with woodland establishment.

With both schemes, annual payments are also payable over a 10-year period, plus the area remains eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme throughout the period.