An extension of the agroforestry land use system to a further 150,000 hectares designated as acid sensitive lands was announced today by the Minister of state with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle.
Agroforestry is the planting of trees on farm land at lower density than normal woodlands so that farming activity can continue on the same land. the programme is funded through grants under the National Forestry Programme which was significantly increased last year from €260 to €645 per hectare per year for five years.
The announcement was made at an agroforestry open day on Thursday where Minister Doyle encouraged farmers to “plant trees and continue farming".
The Minister ciontinued: "To see the sheep grazing contentedly amongst oak, cherry and sycamore trees really highlights the benefits of this approach for our environment, our livestock, and our land.
“The Department paid for the planting of those trees and pays an annual premium to the farmer for five years. This is part of the Government’s commitment to delivering results under the recently published Climate Action Plan 2019 and the role which our agriculture and land use sector has in achieving these targets.”
Farmers who are interested in joining the scheme can access details on the Department’s website under forestry grants and premium schemes, or can contact a Teagasc forestry advisor.
Acceptable tree species include oak, sycamore and cherry. Other broadleaves and conifers will be considered on a site to site basis. Fruit and nut species can account for up to 15% of the trees planted.