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Opportunity for new small areas of farm woodland

February 11, 2021

Farmers wanting to create new native woodlands on their land have a few weeks left to apply to the ‘Small Woodland Grant Scheme’. Small areas of woodland can contribute to ‘Net-Zero carbon by 2050’, as well as improving water quality, landscape and enhancing local biodiversity. 

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Technologist Ruth Ruddell said “This is a great opportunity if you’ve been considering planting a small area of native woodland on your farm. This new ‘Small Woodland Grant Scheme’ will now take applications for areas down to 0.2 of a hectare, which may be ideal for your farm business.”

Woodlands are recognised for their role in alleviating climate change by capturing carbon dioxide and storing it as carbon in the woody growth, roots, leaf litter and soil organic matter beneath the ground. This long term storage of carbon from the atmosphere is also known as carbon sequestration. Increasing woodland area has been identified as one way to contribute to reaching ‘net-zero carbon by 2050’ the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.

This new woodland grant is part of the ‘Forests for our Future’ programme which aims to plant 18 million trees or 9,000 hectares of new woodland over the next 10 years to help our environment and economy.

The applications are completed on a new, simple online system which will help you to assess the suitability of your fields for planting. The system will allow you to draw the woodland boundary and to measure your areas, with the minimum acceptable area being 0.2 hectares. The whole application and approval process is online. Applicants will need to have a DAERA Business ID and also be able to access DAERA Online Services through the Government Gateway. Further information is available at the following link:

The ‘Small Woodland Grant Scheme’ adheres to the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) which is the reference standard for sustainable forestry management in the UK.

The scheme encourages a range of tree species to be planted to improve the resilience of your woodland to climate change, extreme weather events, pests and diseases.

In order to complete the planting during this Spring you must submit your application using the online system by 11pm on Sunday, February 28, 2021. The Scheme is also planned to re-open in summer 2021 well in advance of the 2022 planting season.

The grant is paid on a standard rate basis which includes establishment costs and stock proof fencing. In addition, agricultural land may qualify for an annual premia of £350/ha each year for 10 years. Land planted under the Small Woodland Grant Scheme that was eligible and on which Single Farm Payment was paid in respect of 2008 scheme year and remains currently eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) remains eligible for BPS the duration of the Small Woodland Grant Scheme agreement.

CAFRE Technologist Ruth Ruddell hopes you will consider the opportunities that this grant offers, she said “Collectively these small areas of woodland can increase the overall woodland cover in Northern Ireland and provide a wide range of ecosystem services in your local area.”

Further details are available on the DAERA website Alternatively, contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3165 or email: