A new reconstitution scheme for frost damage must be extended to include forests planted since 2015, according to the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA farm forestry chair Vincent Nally said the new reconstitution scheme for young forests damaged by frost is a positive development, but called for the eligibility criteria to be expanded.

He said that some forest owners that planted in 2015 have suffered the same level of damage as those that planted since November 2017.

Currently, the new Reconstitution for Woodland (Frost) scheme is available to private forest owners who planted during the period between 1 November 2017 and 1 June 2021 and whose entire plantations sustained a minimum of 30% losses.

For those that meet the qualifying criteria, grant aid will then only be given to those plots that have experienced 30% or greater damage.

Huge relief

Vincent Nally said: “[THe] IFA has been seeking such a scheme to support forest owners affected by frost events since 2020. It will be a huge relief to affected forest owners.”

He described how frost events took place in May 2019, May 2020 and May 2021 which affected young forests, both through direct mortality as well as by damaging apical shoots of young trees.

“This grant scheme is cost-based with maximum grants available of €850 per hectare for conifers and €1,180 per hectare for broadleaves that have experienced greater than 50% damage with plants of acceptable quality, provenances and species.

“I would encourage all private forest owners affected to talk with their foresters and make an application under the scheme.”

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, 29 April 2022.

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