New Planting

New Planting According to the 2017 National Forest Inventory, Ireland’s forest cover is approximated at 11% which is below the EU average of 38%. The 2014 “Forest Policy Review – Forests, Products and People” states that the national afforestation target up to 2046 is 18%. To encourage the planting of new forests, schemes and grants are available for farmers and non-farmers including the afforestation scheme.

Afforestation is the process of planting trees to establish a forest in an area previously not occupied by trees.

Afforestation Scheme Brief Overview:

  • Available to private landowners (farmers and non-farmers)
  • Land must be agricultural zoned land
  • The scheme is comprised of 12 different grant and premium categories.
  • Each of the 12 grant categories have 2 grants.
    1. The first grant is for the establishment and is payable once the newly planted forest works are completed ( e.g. site preparation, planting, fencing, etc.). This is approximately 75% of the overall total available grant.
    2. The second grant is for the maintenance (e.g. vegetation management , the replacement of failures, etc.) and is payable 4 years after planting. A forest service assessment by the forest owner’s co-operative society limited (FOCS) registered forester will take place at this time, once completed the remaining 25% of the overall total available grant will be payable.
  • Annual premiums are paid for a maximum of 15 years.
  • The payments depend on the type of trees planted and the area size planted.
  • The minimum area eligible is 0.1 hectares for broadleaf species and 1.0 hectares for conifers.
  • Minimum broadleaf requirement per site is 15%.

Afforestation Scheme Benefits:

  • Single farm payments can be retained by farmers for the land planted on.
  • A maximum of 15 years of regular tax-free income.
  • Free forest establishment as the afforestation scheme covers planting, fencing etc.
  • Landowner retains full ownership of the land and the crops planted. • Further grants available for development of the establishment (e.g. forest roads, tending and thinning).
  • Timber harvested from early thinnings (after approx. 15 years and every three to five years thereafter) also provide income.
  • Tax efficient regarding inheritance.
  • Tax-free status of timber sales.

5 steps to establishing a new forest with FOCS:

  1. Call the Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society limited (FOCS) to discuss the afforestation scheme, your eligibility, your objectives, financial support, the interaction of other farm schemes, etc.
  2. Consider your options. The land will change use once you enter afforestation agreement as it applies under the Forestry Act 2014.
  3. Proceed in making an application by contacting the Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society (FOCS) who will liaise with you through the afforestation scheme application and planting process.
  4. As a member of Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society (FOCS) if you do not have the time to maintain the establishment over the forest lifespan your FOCS professional forestry team can look after the new forest for you.
  5. During the lifespan of the new forest and especially the first 4-year period your FOCS professional forestry team in consultation with the plantation holder can monitor the progress of the establishment (Monitor vegetation, drainage, nutrient deficiencies, stock density, fence lines etc).

FOCS Planting Assistance:

  • The FOCS professional forestry team will have the required knowledge and techniques to establish and fully manage your new forestry plantation.
  • Before starting any work on your new forestry make sure you have an agreed mandate between you and the FOCS.
  • The FOCS will assign a professional forestry team once an agreed mandate has been established.


  • Site check list PDF
  • Grant Rates PDF
  • Request for application forms

New Planting Enquiry

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