The legislation on assistance to improve the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems provides for aid to restore forest ecosystems by reforesting a forest stand with tree species suitable for the location.
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 department.
The applicant must verify that the surface area to be reforested:
- is at least 30 ares of contiguous land; or
- is made up of gaps in the forest, smaller than 30 ares, suitable for enrichment planting.
Moreover, the surface must:
- form a single, contiguous forest stand;
- be in a listed green zone. This requirement precludes lands 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.
The following property types are also excluded:
- reforestation for the production of Christmas trees or ornamental trees;
- short-rotation afforestation on agricultural land;
- sheltered reforestation if the old forest stands have an overlap greater than 70 %;
- reforestation as part of a compensatory scheme;
- reforestation ordered after conviction for offences relating to the protection of woodlands or of nature;
- transformation of hardwood stands into softwood stands.
Applicants must file their applications prior to the commencement of any work, including any chipping.
How to proceed
Filing an application
The applicant must submit their application, using the appropriate form (available under 'Forms / Online services') with the head of the district concerned.
- their surname and first name;
- their address;
- their telephone number;
- their banking institution and account number;
- their national identification number;
- the total area of forested property;
- information about:
- the area to be reforested: commune, section, locality, cadastral number, cadastral surface and treated surface, windthrow;
- the type of plantation: enrichment plantation in clusters or hardwood or softwood trees, planting of a forest stand comprising 30 %, 60 % or 90 % hardwood species;
- a description of the planned work.
- information about:
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 reforestation site;
- an extract of a cadastral map (scale 1:2,500) for the plots in question.
Following the completion of the work, the recipients must provide the government administration department with:
- a copy of the supplier document, indicating the number(s) of the master- or ancillary certificates, which can be obtained from the supplier who provided the saplings;
- a planting plan showing the distances of separation, the species and the spatial distribution of saplings planted;
- a topographic map showing the location of the clusters, in the case of planting for enrichment.
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 the aid is fixed as follows:
- EUR 100 per cluster of hardwood trees for enrichment plantations;
- EUR 35 per cluster of softwood trees for enrichment plantations;
- EUR 75 per are for plantations comprising a minimum of 90 % hardwood species. The amount of the aid is increased by 25 % where there has been no chipping of forest regrowth or remnants from cutting operations;
- EUR 50 per are for plantations comprising a minimum of 60 % hardwood species. The amount of the aid is increased by 25 % where there has been no chipping of forest regrowth or remnants from cutting operations;
- EUR 35 per are for plantations comprising a minimum of 30 % hardwood species. The amount of the aid is increased by 25 % where there has been no chipping of forest regrowth or remnants from cutting operations.
For reforestation work carried out in the wake of a windthrow event or bark beetle infestation, these amounts are doubled, and additional aid in the amount of EUR 50 per are for loss of earnings is granted. The government administration department must issue a certificate acknowledging force majeure and the damage caused. Such a certificate can also be obtained from the competent district authorities. The minister must declare the event that caused the windthrow a natural disaster.
The aid will also be increased by 25 % if the measures are taken:
- on woodlands in a listed protected zone defined by law; and
- in accordance with the measures outlined in the forest management plans enacted by ministerial decree.
The aid is paid in 2 instalments:
- the 1st, representing 75 % of the total amount, after the completion of the plantation work, on the basis of a provisional acceptance report;
- the 2nd instalment within 3 years of payment of the 1st instalment, on the basis of a final acceptance report:
- documenting the recovery of at least 80% of the plants;
- certifying that the new plantations will be adequately maintained.
For works conducted in preparation for the reforestation, the beneficiary must:
- leave on the ground of the surface to be reforested branch trimmings having a diameter of less than 7 cm at the cut end;
- not grind any natural regrowth of forest species, either in the soil or the trimmings left previously. Partial grinding is allowable on the strip or cluster to be used for planting, and complete grinding is authorised in order to combat eagle fern, broom and brambles.
For reforestation and maintenance work, the beneficiary must:
- carry out the reforesting in the interest of safeguarding the forest stand;
- respect a planting distance of at least 2 metres from gravelled forest roads;
- preserve natural regrowth that is unlikely to compete with the planted species, except when transforming a forest stand to reduce the proportion of a non-local species;
- clear the plantation only if growth is compromised. Only weeds which would directly threaten the saplings' growth must be removed. Complete clearing is allowed in order to combat bracken fern, broom and brambles;
- gradually increase the amount of light reaching the regenerated trees where the plantation is under shelter;
- in the case of transforming a copse into mature hardwoods, conserve a certain number of trunks from the original copse: between 200 and 500 saplings and accompanying trunks to ensure the proper growth of the young saplings. The trunks of the old forest stand must be removed gradually as the new plantation grows;
- not intentionally reduce the proportion of hardwood species planted during upkeep and subsequent works;
Criteria governing planting works
For all planting projects
The planting work must comply with the following criteria:
- 100 % of the species planted must be naturally suited to the location. Ecological details for various species can be found here. This is a decision-support tool to help you choose tree species that are suited to a given location;
- a minimum of 70 % of species planted must be authorised species: sessile oak, pedunculate oak, common beech, sycamore, plane tree, alnus glutinosa (alder), native rowan, sorbus torminalis (chequer tree), mountain elm, field elm, slippery elm, black poplar, yew, common pear tree, wild apple tree, wild cherry, large-leaved lime, small-leaved lime, spruce, Douglas fir, larch, Scots pine;
- a minimum of 30 % of species planted must be hardwood;
- a mixture of at least 3 species, at least 2 of which must be on the list of authorised species. No one of these 3 species may account for less than 10 % of the mixture;
- the surface to be reforested must form a single, contiguous forest stand.
Enrichment plantations in gaps measuring less than 30 ares, situated in a mature forest, an existing regeneration plantation or an oak copse, with a view to transforming the land into a mature hardwood plantation
The planting work must comply with the following criteria:
- planting must take place in at least 10 clusters, in one or more gaps in the existing forest;
- each cluster contains at least 25 plants;
- softwood and hardwood species may not be mixed within the same cluster, with the exception of the addition of 10 % maximum of larches in a hardwood cluster;
- the clusters must be positioned in gaps which allow sufficient light to reach the plants to enable them to thrive;
- the clusters must be spaced at least 10 m apart, from centre to centre, and the centre of each one must be marked with a coloured stake at least 1.5 m high;
- the length-to-width ratio of the clusters must not exceed 2.5;
- the planting may make use of wild stock from the same forest.
The beneficiary will be required to repay the aid received if:
- it was obtained by means of false or incomplete statements;
- the beneficiary has failed to comply with the conditions for granting the aid. 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.
For the year in question, the beneficiary will also be precluded from receiving any aid for improving the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the event of:
- a false declaration due to gross negligence; or
- failure to abide by the principles of best forestry practices.
If their application is denied, or if they are required to repay any aid received, the applicant may appeal the administrative decision by the usual means of appeal (non-contentious appeal, legal appeal), provided they observe the legal limitation periods.
It is also possible to lodge an appeal with the Ombudsman.