Legislation on financial aid to maintain and improve the ecosystemic benefits provided by forests provides for an aid scheme aimed at preserving oak copses by means of coppicing to protect and safeguard the biocenoses associated with this environment.
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 per plot.
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 in question is 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 oak copses in question are in a designated green zone in the Oesling region;
- the diameter of the trunks to be cut, at average chest height, must be less than 30 cm to ensure that a satisfactory number of shoots can grow from the remaining stumps;
- the surface area affected by the coppicing does not exceed 50 ares. The next coppicing operation can only be carried out after at least 2 years. Coppicing of any contiguous area greater than 50 ares is not permitted unless a multi-annual cutting plan is presented for approval by the administration.
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 the forest property;
- information about the area in question: commune, section, locality, cadastral number, cadastral surface and surface area affected by the project, stem diameter at average chest height, location in a special protection zone.
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 site;
- an extract of a cadastral map (scale 1:2,500) for the plots in question;
- a multi-year cutting plan if the surface area of the site to be cut is more than 50 ares.
The head of the district 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 20 per are for wood-cutting and clearing operations.
The aid is paid in 2 instalments:
- the first instalment is paid after completion of the cutting, on presentation of a provisional acceptance report;
- the second is paid within 3 years of the first instalment, on presentation of a final acceptance report, provided that the stumps show at least 80 % regeneration as shoots.
The beneficiary undertakes to:
- cut the trees manually;
- develop a system of logging tracks, with tracks a maximum of 4 metres wide, and at least 40 metres between the tracks. The logging tracks must be permanently marked within the forest stand prior to the commencement of the work;
- remove the wood by horse or cable logging to the logging tracks or forest roads;
- refrain from driving logging tractors or other heavy machinery beyond the system of logging tracks;
- preserve the ground around the cut site so as not to prevent the regrowth of shoots;
- leave the cut branches on the ground around the cut site.
Should the stumps fail to put out new shoots, the applicant must reforest the area with the main authorised hardwood species. They may apply for further aid for such work. Aid may also be sought for horse logging of the felled trees.
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.