Legislation on aid to improve and protect the sustainable management of forest ecosystems allows for aid for the restoration of the forest ecosystem through initial afforestation of agricultural land.
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
- who owns agricultural land, including public authorities other than the Luxembourg State; and
- who wishes to receive aid to restore the forest ecosystem through initial afforestation of agricultural land.
Where land is jointly owned by multiple natural or legal persons, the aid will be granted only once per plot.
The initial afforestation of agricultural land is limited to hardwood species planted in efforts to:
- prevent erosion;
- protect hydrological resources;
- prevent flooding;
- create green corridors;
- promote biodiversity.
The following plantations are precluded:
- plantations on lands listed as unsuitable for forestation;
- plantations to produce Christmas trees or ornamental trees;
- plantations for the purpose of short-rotation biomass production;
- planting work done as part of a compensatory scheme;
- planting ordered after conviction for offences relating to the protection of woodlands or of nature.
Applications must be lodged before any work begins.
How to proceed
Submitting the application
The applicant must submit their application, using the appropriate form (available under 'Forms / Online services' below) to 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 surface area to be forested: commune, section, locality, cadastral number, cadastral surface and treated surface;
- a description of the planned work.
If the applicant owns a farm, they must also specify:
- the farm holding number;
- the farm accident insurance number.
Where relevant, applicants may also refer to another application which they have filed.
The application must be accompanied by the following:
- a copy of the requisite permit;
- 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;
- a bank account identification document.
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 set as follows:
- EUR 75 per are of the area to be planted with trees, for plantations comprising a minimum of 90 % hardwood species;
- EUR 75 per are to compensate for lost income as a result of the tree planting.
The aid will 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.
Preparing agricultural land for initial tree planting
Where necessary, agricultural land must be prepared for planting by appropriate groundworks – in particular, the following:
- subsoil work on the fields to destroy any formerly planted crop seeds;
- destruction of the turf surface of meadows and pastures.
Conditions on the location and clustering of initial tree plantation on agricultural land
Minimum surface areas and dimensions
In case of an isolated plantation, the project must relate to a single, contiguous plot of land no smaller than 1 hectare. The future forest stand must be at least 100 metres wide.
In the case of a plantation of trees adjoining an existing forest, the minimum surface area is reduced to 50 ares, provided that the ground to be planted is in contact with the existing forest, over at least 1/4 of the length of its perimeter.
The requirements for minimum surface area apply irrespective of land ownership.
Distances to be respected
The following minimum distances must be adhered to, and nothing may be planted within these zones, including forest edge planting:
- from the boundary of an urban area: 100 metres;
- from the crest of a riverbank (unless it is a plantation of alder or ash trees, or a gallery forest of hardwood trees): 10 metres;
- from agricultural land and biotopes, habitats and non-wooded protected zones:
- 15 metres on the north of the plantation;
- 10 metres on the east and west of the plantation;
- 5 metres on the south of the plantation;
- from a gravelled forest road: 2 metres;
- from another public road, railway or conduit for the transport or distribution of electricity, natural gas, telecoms, water supply or sewerage: 3 metres.
Integration into the rural environment
The planting of trees:
- must not create pockets of agricultural land that are smaller than 3 hectares in the case of pasture, or 10 hectares for other types of agricultural land;
- must not create an obstacle to the flow of cool air, or obscure any lookout points;
- must follow the natural contours of the land.
Criteria governing planting works
For all plantations, the following criteria must be met:
- 100 % of the species planted must be naturally suited to the location;
The ecological details of the various species provide a decision-support tool when choosing species that are suited to the location.
- a minimum of 70 % of species planted must be authorised species;
- a minimum of 30 % of species planted must be hardwoods;
- a mixture of at least 3 different tree species must be planted; at least 2 of those must be authorised species: no one of the 3 species may cover less than 10 % of the planted area;
- the surface to be planted must form a single, contiguous forest stand.
For planting work, the following criteria must be met:
- the planting must be carried out in full, either in clusters or in strips;
- the clusters and strips must be distributed across the whole of the target area;
- the minimum planting density is 2,500 saplings per hectare;
- the mixture of hardwood and softwood species, except larches, must be planted in groups of at least 25 trees.
Lands not suitable for initial forestation of agricultural land
Initial afforestation may not be carried out on the following types of land:
- protected biotopes, habitats of EU interest, and habitats of species of EU interest;
- protected zones of national interest and protected zones of EU interest, with the exception of lands where planting is proposed in the management plans;
- flood zones and the bottom of narrow valleys, except for the creation of an alder or ash grove, or a gallery forest populated by hardwoods;
- lands with very shallow soils (less than 20 centimetres deep);
- lands marred by a public construction project or some other type of barrier to tree planting;
- drained agricultural lands, or land in proximity to drained lands, as the planting of trees would interfere with the flow of drainage water from cultivated land on higher ground.
Any aid received must be repaid to the State Treasury when:
- 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 will also be required to pay interest at the legal 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 the beneficiary has made a deliberate misrepresentation, they will also be excluded for the following year.
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.
Forms / Online services
Demande d'aide pour la restauration de l'écosystème forestier par le premier boisement de terres agricoles
Who to contact
Driven hunt (Nature and Forest Agency)81, avenue de la Gare
Fax : (+352) 24756 - 651