Forests for Our Future – Woodland Grant Schemes Reopen

Date published: 22 June 2021

Environment Minister Edwin Poots, MLA has announced the next stage of the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme by opening the Forest Expansion Scheme & Small Woodland Grant Schemes to encourage and help landowners plant their own woodlands.

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA

The schemes can support all types of sustainable woodland with the Small Woodland Grant Scheme being designed as a simple online scheme for new native woodlands of 0.2 hectares and larger, while the Forest Expansion Scheme supports native woodland, mixed woodland or commercial conifer woodland that can best meet land owners business needs whilst contributing to a living, working, active landscape. Successful applicants to the schemes will receive up to 100% of eligible establishment costs and annual premia for a 10-year period.

Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to announce the reopening of the Small Woodland Grant Scheme and Forest Expansion Scheme for 2021 on 22 June. These schemes are designed to attract and support farmers and other landowners to plant new woodland that compliments their land management objectives and add to our valuable woodland assets”.

“I am encouraged to see that 1.75 million trees have been planted to create almost 900 hectares of new woodland since I launched the Forests for Our Future programme in March 2020. These new woodlands have been planted by many private landowners and public sector organisations and will benefit individuals, community and society by contributing to a healthy, quality environment, and capture carbon from the atmosphere as they grow.”

Landowners who wish to plant this winter are reminded that all applications to the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by 31 August 2021. All applications to the Small Woodland Grant Scheme must be made using the online system before 30 September 2021. Early applications are encouraged and can be made at anytime following the schemes opening today.

Further details are available on the DAERA website  Alternatively, contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3103 or email:

Notes to editors: 


  1. The Forest Expansion Scheme – Establishment Grant is competitive and those projects which maximise delivery of scheme objectives at minimum cost, that is to say those offering best value for money, will be prioritised and selected for funding. Successful applicants may receive up to 100% of eligible costs, however bids with lower costs may make your application better value for money and more likely to be selected for funding.
  2. The Small Woodland Grant Scheme establishment grant is paid at £2,925 per hectare, 80% in year 1 and the remaining 20% in year 5. A fencing grant is also available where necessary to secure the new woodland.
  3. Annual Premia are payable over a 10-year period where the land to be planted is in agricultural use.
  4. Land that was eligible and on which Single Farm Payment (SFP) was paid in respect of the 2008 scheme year and is subsequently converted to forestry under an EU scheme remains eligible for the duration of the Forestry Scheme.
  5. The schemes are funded through the Rural Development Programme, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office:
  7. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook: and 
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top