The Department of Agriculture is examining the potential to implement a small-scale forestry grant for farmers to encourage tree planting along rivers and watercourses.
The scheme aims to generate carbon sinks while also helping to ensure farm pollutants do not enter rivers and streams.
“The Department is examining ways of promoting tree-planting on farms on a smaller scale than our existing forestry schemes,” a spokesperson for the Department told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“This is in recognition of the benefits of such planting for water quality and climate in particular. This would pilot such measures to be scaled up for inclusion in the next CAP under our agri-environment schemes.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland last week that the scheme proposal came from Minister of State Pippa Hackett during a climate subcommittee this month.
The proposal states “that we would change the regulation so that if farmers have a river course beside them, it makes huge sense for us to plant streams of forests along that”, Minister Ryan said.
“It will improve water quality. The roots act as a filtering system, so any run-off into the river is held back. It can, and should, and will be counted as a carbon store and improvement to wildlife.”