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 competent jurisdiction, which will notify them of the decision of the Nature Conservation Agency (Administration de la nature et des forêts).
Who is concerned
Anyone wishing to receive aid for improving the conservation status of oak copses by coppicing must apply in writing to the head of the district concerned.
To receive the aid, the applicant must confirm that:
- the forest land in question is in a designated green zone. Areas where pesticides are used or where ground work has been done which degrades the soil structure (e.g. tilling and stump removal) are ineligible;
- 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, is less than 30cm 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 a period of 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.
The application must be submitted to the head of the district before work commences.
How to proceed
Filing an application
When submitting an application, the applicant must state the following on the form:
- 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 surface area in question (commune, section, locality, land registry plot number, cadastral surface and processed surface area, diameter of the stems at average chest height, and location within a special protection area).
If the applicant owns a farm, they must also state:
- 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;
- a cadastral extract of the plots concerned;
- a multi-annual 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 Conservation 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.
An additional EUR 10 per are is granted if the operation is to take place in a special protection zone with the aim of maintaining the system of oak copses to conserve the species associated with it.
The aid is paid in 2 instalments:
- the first instalment is paid after the 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, providing that the stumps show at least 80% regeneration as shoots.
The beneficiary undertakes to:
- cut the trees manually;
- build permanent logging tracks;
- 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;
If the stumps do not generate regrowth, then the applicant is required to reforest the ground with authorised main hardwood species.
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.