It is worth noting that the Forestry Act, 2014 provides for the requirement to obtain a felling licence before any tree or trees are felled. The Act also gives powers to issue replanting orders, where it is found that tree felling has taken place without a valid licence. Replanting orders can be issued without having to take the land owner to court (as for the Forestry Act, 1946). Failure to replant under a replanting order can be followed-up with court proceedings, if necessary.
In the case referenced, following an investigation by officials of my Department, it was ascertained that trees had been felled without a valid tree felling licence. A replanting order issued, instructing the land owner to replant the land concerned. This is a standard procedure as trees felled under a valid felling licence are normally replanted on the same land.
Alternative land may be accepted for replanting under a replanting order, provided that land is approved for afforestation prior to planting and is equivalent in area to that felled. In such circumstances land owner is required to make an application for an afforestation licence (non-grant aided) to ensure the proposed alternative site is suitable for afforestation. Where the alternative land is found suitable, the land owner may plant that area, at their own expense, under the conditions of the afforestation licence. If however the land owner is not in a position to provide an appropriate alternative site, they are required to replant the original site.