The 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy for the provision of ecosystem services in forests was designed to:
- contribute to adapting to the effects of climate change;
- enhance the resilience of the forest ecosystem.
It is a measure designed to support private forest owners who wish to help promote climate action by adopting a nature-friendly approach to forestry.
The ultimate goal is to preserve the many benefits to society afforded by forest ecosystems, namely:
- soil protection;
- water and air filtration;
- the preservation of biodiversity and an environment conducive to recreational activities and ecotourism;
- carbon sequestration (CO2 capture);
- carbon storage;
- the provision of natural products.
Who is concerned
The 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy is intended for private owners of forested property in Luxembourg that is managed in a nature-friendly manner.
The subsidy is restricted to areas:
- harbouring protected forest biotopes or forest habitats of community interest, as provided for in the Grand Ducal regulation of 1 August 2018 on protected biotopes, habitats of community interest and habitats harbouring species of community interest, whose conservation status has been assessed as 'not-favourable', and stipulating measures for their reduction, destruction and degeneration;
- comprising a contiguous plot of at least 0.5 hectares of eligible forest;
- situated in forests in green zones.
Forests where works and specific management practices have been imposed by the Minister for the Environment (Ministre de l'Environnement) as part of an authorisation requiring the fulfilment of conditions during the duration of the authorisation are not eligible for the subsidy.
For forest stands to be considered eligible:
- at least 50 % of the basal area of each hectare must be composed of indigenous deciduous trees; and
- no forestry measures must have been implemented that reduce the diversity of naturally growing indigenous trees.
In forest stands:
- natural regeneration should be preferred to planting;
- indigenous species and a mix of trees should be preferred for regeneration;
- the removal of tree biotopes in stands with fewer than 2 trees per hectare is prohibited;
- the removal of standing or fallen deadwood with a diameter of over 40 cm, in stands with less than one tree per hectare, is prohibited;
- whole tree harvesting (including the roots, the log and the canopy) and the shredding of slash are prohibited;
- slash with a diameter of less than 7 cm must be left on the ground;
- the operation of logging machinery outside logging trails should be avoided;
- felling techniques and machinery should be adapted so as to minimise damage to stands and soil;
- the use of biodegradable oils for machinery is recommended, insofar as technically possible.
Forestry measures resulting in the reduction, destruction or degeneration of protected biotopes, or of rocky, wetland or aquatic habitats of community interest in the forest system, must not have been implemented in the forest stands.
Owners of forested property who wish to receive the subsidy must submit an application before 1 October, in which they undertake to fulfil the conditions provided for in the section headed 'Prerequisites' for 10 consecutive calendar years.
- commences on 1 January of the year following that in which the subsidy is approved; and
- expires on 31 December of the 10th year.
Exceptionally, applications for the subsidy for 2021 must be submitted before 1 October 2021. The undertaking commences retroactively on 1 January 2021, and expires on 31 December 2030.
How to proceed
Filing an application
Applications for the 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy must be completed, dated and signed and sent by post to the Director of the Nature and Forest Agency (Administration de la nature et des forêts).
Applications must be accompanied by the following:
- details on the surfaces that the aid is being applied for (to be specified in the table in the application form under the heading 'Annex');
- an extract from the cadastral map for the plots concerned;
- an extract from the topographical map (scale 1:10,000), showing the forested property(ies) concerned.
Applications will be checked and reviewed by the Nature and Forest Agency. If necessary, it will seek the assistance of experts. The decision will be taken by the Minister of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development as soon as possible.
Amount of the subsidy
The amount of the subsidy is is set on the basis of:
- geo-referenced data, which is available at the Nature and Forest Agency, and
- information provided by the property owner in their application, and depending on the total surface area of the eligible property(ies).
The subsidy will be paid to the property owner on an annual basis.
If the property is held in co-ownership, the subsidy will be paid to the person specified in the application.
The amount of the subsidy is set in accordance with the following rates:
Total surface area of eligible property less than or equal to 100 hectares
The standard annual amount is EUR 150 per hectare.
In addition to the standard amount, a supplement of EUR 100 per hectare per annum is granted for eligible properties located in a:
- designated protected zone of community interest, also known as a zoneNatura 2000; or
- protected zone of natural interest declared as such by way of a Grand Ducal regulation; or
- protected zone harbouring water intended for human consumption.
Total surface area of eligible property greater than 100 and less than or equal to 200 hectares
The annual amount of the subsidy is 50 % of the standard amount and 50 % of the supplement.
In this case, the standard amount is EUR 75 per hectare per annum, and the supplement is EUR 50 per hectare per annum.
Total surface area greater than 200 hectares
The annual amount is 25 % of the standard amount and 25 % of the supplement.
In this case, the standard amount is EUR 37.50 per hectare per annum, and the supplement is EUR 25 per hectare per annum.
Retraction of the undertaking
Should the beneficiary of the subsidy decide to retract their undertaking with respect to a part or all of the forested property for which the subsidy was granted, they must notify the Nature and Forest Agency by registered letter. The conditions must be met until the expiry of the undertaking (10 years) , failing which the grant must be reimbursed.
If the forested property for which the subsidy was granted is to be sold, the owner must notify, beforehand and by registered letter:
- the Nature and Forest Agency; and
- the buyer, as to the existence of the undertaking.
For each forested property sold, the owner will be required to reimburse the entire amount of the subsidies received for the year in question, unless the buyer agrees to honour the undertaking until it expires.
In the event of death, the undertaking will terminate automatically on the day of the death, unless the heirs agree to honour the undertaking until it expires.
The 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy will cease to be granted, or payments received during the term of the undertaking will have to be reimbursed, if it is found that the owner, after prior formal notification, has failed to comply with:
- the conditions for the granting of the subsidy; or
- the stipulations of the Grand Ducal regulation on protected zones.
For the first instance of non-compliance, the property owner will be required to reimburse the amounts received during the term of the undertaking for the forested property for which the subsidy was granted and where the instance of non-compliance was observed.
In the event of a subsequent instance of non-compliance, the undertaking will be terminated automatically. The property owner will then be required to reimburse the payments received during the term of the undertaking for all forested properties for which the subsidy was granted.
The property owner will also be permanently barred from receiving the 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy.
Renewal of the subsidy
Expired undertakings may be renewed by filing a new application for the 'Klimabonusbësch' subsidy. The application must be filed by the owner of eligible forested property.
If the subsidy is denied, the applicant may lodge an administrative appeal against the Minister of the Environment's decision within 3 months of being notified of the latter.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, the applicant may also lodge an appeal with the Ombudsman.