Legislation on financial aid to maintain and improve the ecosystemic benefits provided by forests includes an aid scheme for the restoration or maintenance of structured forest edges in order to create transition areas between the open ground and the forest.
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 edge to be restored or maintained extends to a depth of no more than 15 metres. The depth of the edge must be no more than one-third of the depth of the woodland in question;
- the edge:
- is in the area of contact between the open ground and the forest; and
- includes a layer of trees (arborescent), a layer of shrubs (arbustive), and a layer of ground plants (herbaceous);
- the distance between the trees and the arborescent layer is no greater than 10 metres.
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, surface area affected, number of saplings involved, species, length and depth of the edge, and protective 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;
- when felling is involved, a plan of the intervention zones;
- a copy of the proposal for new plants.
Once the new plants have been planted, the applicant must provide a copy of the receipted invoice for the work.
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 aid paid after the work has been carried out is fixed at:
- EUR 4 per plant, for the introduction of new plants in the forest edge;
- EUR 40 per are of the intervention zone, for selective felling as part of the restoration or maintenance of a forest edge.
When felling is involved, aid is granted only after the plan of the intervention zones is submitted for approval by the Nature and Forest Agency. Selective felling of individual trees or groups of trees as part of the restoration and maintenance of a forest edge must be carried out as and when required. The felling zones must be no more than 35 m long and 15 m deep.
The interval between actions taken on contiguous areas must be at least 10 years.
When introducing new saplings, preference should be given to indigenous arborescent and arbustive species found in edges in the region in question.
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 beneficiary;
- 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.