My Department has introduced a number of measures over the last year to raise public awareness of the range of services provided by forests and measures to encourage forest owners to adopt actions to promote ecosystem services to improve water quality, biodiversity and habitat protection. These measures include:
- A promotion and educational programme with Teagasc.
- The Woodland Environmental Scheme targeted at companies who wish to engage in environmental projects as part of their corporate social responsibility policies which will provide additional funding to encourage landowners to plant native broadleaf trees and which attract an additional once off payment of €1,000 per hectare.
- A Continuous Cover Forestry scheme to encourage landowners to consider limited but regular felling rather than a clearfell harvesting system.
- Woodlands for Water to create new native woodlands to protect and enhance Ireland’s waters.
My colleague, Minister of State Andrew Doyle, also issued a call for promotions earlier this year to encourage initiatives which will highlight the multifunctional benefits of forestry, promote planting of more trees and encourage sustainable forest management. A total of 40 proposals were received of which 15 were approved. These will now be implemented with almost €830,000 in funding in 2019 and 2020 and are expected to raise public awareness and raise appreciation of our woodlands.