The legislation on aid to improve the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems provides for aid to reinforce the forest ecosystem through initial selective clearing, whether manually or mechanically.
Applicants must submit their application to the district authority with jurisdiction, which will notify them of the decision of the Nature and Forest Agency (Administration de la nature et des forêts).
Who is concerned
Any owner of forest land.
Where forest land is jointly owned by multiple natural or legal persons, the aid will be granted only once.
Those who own more than 20 hectares of forest must provide the government administration department with a valid document relating to planned forestry activities:
- which applies to all their forest holdings; and
- has been approved by the government administration.
To receive the aid, the applicant must confirm that the area to be cleared:
- is in a listed green zone. This requirement precludes surfaces where:
- pesticides are used; or
- lands on which:
- groundworks that harm the soil structure are carried out; or
- drainage works or fertilisation are carried out;
- includes at least 30 ares in a contiguous unit;
- forms a single, contiguous forest stand.
The average stem height in the forest stand in question must be between 14 and 18 metres.
Applicants must file their applications prior to the commencement of any work.
How to proceed
Filing an application
When filing the application with the head of the district concerned, applicants must state the following on the form (available under 'Forms / Online services' below):
- their surname and first name;
- their address;
- their telephone number;
- their banking institution and account number;
- their national identification number;
- the total area of forest property;
- information about the area to be cleared: commune, section, locality, cadastral number, surface area of cadastral plot, and the surface area affected by the project.
If the applicant owns a farm, they must also specify:
- the farm holding number;
- the farm accident insurance number.
The application must be accompanied by the following:
- a topographic map (scale 1:10,000) showing the location of the work site;
- an extract of a cadastral map (scale 1:2,500) for the plots in question.
The head of the district concerned will inform the applicant of the Nature and Forest Agency's decision, and the measures to be taken to receive a subsidy.
Amount of aid
The amount of aid is set at:
- EUR 15 per are for manual clearing;
- EUR 5 per are for mechanised clearing.
These amounts are increased by 25 % for work carried out by a group of at least 2 owners on forest land totalling at least 1 ha, located in the same forest.
The amount of aid is also increased by 25 % if the measure is carried out:
- on woodlands in a listed protected zone defined by law; and
- in accordance with the measures defined in the forest management plans enacted by ministerial decree.
The aid for manual clearing may be combined with the aid available to preserve the forest ecosystem by horse or cable logging.
The beneficiary is required to:
- carry out the clearing work to encourage the growth of future trees in the forest stand, and ensure the diversity of species is preserved;
- develop a system of logging tracks, with tracks around 4 metres wide, and at least 40 metres between the tracks. The logging tracks must be permanently marked prior to the commencement of the work;
- in the case of manual felling:
- refrain from mechanised felling on land where the gradient is steeper than 35 %;
- refrain from driving logging tractors or other heavy machinery beyond the system of logging tracks;
- leave branches from the crown less than 7 cm in diameter on the ground around the cut site.
Repayment of aid
Any aid paid out must be repaid to the State Treasury when:
- it was obtained by means of knowingly false or incomplete representations on the part of the applicant;
- the beneficiary has failed to comply with the conditions to which the granting of the aid was subject. In that event, the beneficiary must also pay interest on the amount given, at the legal base rate, calculated as from the day of payment to the day of repayment.
If a false declaration is found to have been made through gross negligence or through failure to adhere to the principles of good forestry practices, the beneficiary is precluded from receiving aid for the year in question.
If they make a deliberate misrepresentation, they are excluded for the following year as well.