Some 124 applications covering an area of 437ha have been approved into the Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme (RUS), Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

A total of 383 applications covering 1,566.18ha were sent into the Department of Agriculture under the scheme.

“I’m acutely aware of the ash dieback has had on growers. RUS provides the forest owner with a broader range of silvicultural and management options than the previous scheme.

“Forest owners who wish to avail of RUS to clearfell all ash trees would have to have a certain level of diseased trees before they can enter this scheme,” Minister McConalogue told Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill in a parliamentary question.

Frost reconstitution scheme

Another issue that was raised in relation to forestry in the Dáil recently was with respect to the introduction of frost reconstitution scheme for young plantations.

Wexford TD Paul Kehoe asked when the Government will introduce frost reconstitution in order that young plantations heavily affected by late spring frost can undergo necessary works to get the stocking levels up to an acceptable standard.

The minister said: “The Department is aware of the request for a reconstitution scheme in response to frost damage on young plantations for woodland owners affected by frost events experienced in 2019, 2020 and again in 2021.

“We are continuing to consider the case for such a scheme and hope to be in a position to clarify our position shortly.

“The timing of any such scheme must be examined in the context of resource implications given the current challenges faced in terms of forestry licences. The licensing system and the implementation of Project Woodland are our absolute priorities and all efforts are focused on maximising the number of afforestation, felling and forest road licences issued.”