Native Woodland Scheme

The Native Woodland Schemes are schemes which aim to establish, promote and protect Irish native woodlands with a focus on maximising the biodiversity value of the site. These schemes provide funding for establishment of native woodlands on green field sites as well as conserving pre-existing native woodlands, both being done with minimal disturbance and long term close to nature management techniques.

Source: SWS Forestry 2021.

Native woodlands are greatly important assets in our national forest inventory as they are home to many of our own native flora and fauna. They enhance our landscape, protect and enhance water quality and provide us with wood and non-wood products. They may be utilised on environmentally sensitive areas and they play a key role within Ireland’s national forest policy.

The scheme is available to local authorities and private landowners.

The first scheme is the native woodland establishment scheme. This is for the establishment of a native woodland on a green field site.   The focus is on native species, minimal site disturbance and long-term ‘close-to-nature’ management.

The second scheme is the native woodland conservation scheme. This is typically used to restore an already existing native woodland, the conversion of an existing conifer forest to a native woodland, or to maximise the ecological value of existing scrub as an emerging native woodland.

For the native woodland establishment, the grants are:

Source: Forest Service, Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

For the native woodland conservation, the premiums are:

  • €350/ha/annum for 7 years for private woodland owners.

For the native woodland establishment, the grants are:

Source: Forest Service, Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

For the native woodland conservation, the grants are:


The input of a professional and registered forester who has native woodland schemes training is required to both complete the application form and to establish a native woodland to its full potential. SWS Forestry have registered foresters located nationwide who can give a professional assessment of the site and advise on its suitability. Not only will we advise on what’s best for the site, but we will complete all paperwork and maps associated with the application.

We also have two in-house ecologists who can assist with the application and advise on any ecological input.

Click here to view our team.

The focus on species is on native Irish trees and shrubs. A few of our native species are:

  • Oak
  • Birch
  • Alder
  • Holly
  • Scots Pine
  • Rowan

A combination such as oak, birch and holly may be suited for your site, or a combination of oak, hazel, birch, cherry, scots pine, hawthorn and rowan may be suitable.

One of our trained and registered foresters will assess your site for its suitability for this scheme and to identify which woodland type is best suited. They will then submit various documents including application forms, maps and a management plan which will start the process. We will then manage your native woodland until it has established itself and it can grow freely.
Contact SWS Forestry on 1800 928 900 or and we can discuss the scheme with you in more detail and can assess your potential site(s) for suitability for the scheme.
  • Provide structural variety in the landscape to support different species in their habitat and food needs.
  • Create connection pathways for bats who prefer to fly over mature broadleaf trees and hedgerows.
  • Reduce habitat fragmentation by enhancing links between various habitat types.
  • Planted near watercourses, trees stabilise the soil and act as a buffer for any potential runoff. This helps protect water quality and give protection to aquatic species who are susceptible to changes in water quality.
  • Provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife. Oak and birch provide excellent homes and food for birds, bees and a vast array of wildlife.
  • Moderate the effects of sun, wind, rain and cold and create micro climates which support a range of various species.
  • Help prevent invasive plant species taking over an area, particularly where there is exposed earth.
  • Can enhance the look and feel of local communities, and improve the health and wellbeing of the people.
  • Provide refuges for animal & bird species in urban areas.
  • Help reduce dependence on pesticides by providing habitat for natural predators such as birds and bats, which in turn helps to increase biodiversity.