New Natural Regeneration Establishment

Date published: 25 January, 2018

For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.

This item is for the successful establishment of natural regeneration of native tree species on open ground within or around the woodland edge where there are prospects of regeneration occurring, and where the successful establishment of native trees meets the objectives of the Woodland Improvement Grant – Habitats and Species option as detailed in your supporting information.

Applications for new natural regeneration must be stand-alone applications and made separately from other WIG Habitat and Species capital operations – this is because we will assess natural regeneration applications separately as part of the Clearing approval process.

You must submit a map with your application showing the New Natural Regeneration Establishment Area. This must include:

  • the perimeter boundary and fence types and the position of the new woodland land parcel boundary you are creating
  • the location of an adequate seed source and any advanced regeneration that is present
  • the areas that must remain as open ground, if these areas have been identified as required during the application process
  • you must map the area of new natural regeneration as a forest land parcel. You should check the mapping guidance for more information (see further information below)

The outer boundary of the proposed new naturally regenerated woodland must not normally exceed 50 metres from the woodland edge and a viable seed source.

In exceptional circumstances, we may agree that the regeneration area can extend beyond the 50 metres from seed trees. (For example, if there is favourable topography and wind direction, other viable seed trees are present out with the existing forest area or evidence of suppressed natural regeneration).

Suitable suppressed or existing regeneration is eligible as long as ongoing maintenance operations are required to secure satisfactory stocking and establishment and the existing regeneration is not clearly beyond the establishment phase.

The minimum width is 15 metres at any one point and the minimum size of area must be 0.25 hectares.The regeneration should be distributed over the site in such a way that the it will provide a minimum of 20 per cent canopy cover over at least 80 per cent of the area, with up to 20 per cent designed open ground.

Stocking densities of a minimum of 400 trees per hectare are expected by year five.

We require that, prior to claiming at the expected year five, the natural regenerated trees have:

  • reached an average height of over 0.5 metres
  • be at the minimum stocking density
  • be healthy and
  • be in a condition capable of continued growth subject to normal ongoing maintenance operations such as protection from inappropriate grazing by wild or domestic animals

The site may be inspected by Forestry Commission Scotland at this time. You can claim before year five, if the area of natural regeneration is successfully established but you will need to ensure the claim year in your contract is the same year as you claim.

If you have not met the above minimum conditions by year five, please let us know if you wish to continue to secure the natural regeneration and we will carry out a five year review. Should you fail to notify us, or fail to submit a claim in year five, we will close your contract.

The Forestry Commission Scotland five year review will assess the response of the natural regeneration, and we will decide and agree with you whether further work is required to establish natural regeneration, with the possibility of extension for up to a maximum of five years. Any further work that is required at year five must be undertaken at the applicant's expense. The offer of up to a five year extension beyond the original five year contract will be subject to any rules and / or regulations that may come into force in the following Scottish Rural Development Programme period from 2021 onwards.

Once the area is established to the required minimum stocking density, then you can submit a claim for grant within the agreed claim year that you have in your contract.

You should ensure that the New Natural Regeneration Establishment Area perimeter boundary is designed to coincide with permanent geographical features (e.g. fence, road, and watercourse).

If no permanent feature exists and a new fence will not be erected on the area boundary, then permanent markers should be erected to allow a land parcel (LPID) boundary to be aligned to the new 'woodland' area.

These markers should be selected to ensure they will be in position throughout the period of achieving established woodland so as to verify the boundary of the grant aid. Permanent markers used will not be grant aided. Therefore, by extending the woodland perimeter areas you will be required to create new land parcel boundaries and may be required to alter any current land parcel boundaries, and so you must complete a land maintenance form.

Further information

Please ensure you abide by conditions set out in the Forestry Grant Scheme claim form and guidance.

Mapping guidance

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