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Woodland Improvement Grant – Reducing Deer Impact

Option closed to applications from 1st October 2012.

The aim of this Option

The purpose of this option is to improve the ecological and environmental value of woodlands by reducing the negative impact of deer. Support is aimed at reducing deer numbers and/or maintaining them at levels that prevent damage to trees and important woodland habitats.

The primary objectives are to reduce deer grazing pressure on planted and regenerating tree species; to reduce bark stripping in existing woodlands; and to benefit other important associated woodland habitats. A priority will be given to reducing the negative impact of deer on SSSI's and Natura sites.

Rates of Support

This is a Standard Cost Capital item that will be paid upon satisfactory completion of the first year's work. This payment includes the payments for the first 5 years worth of operations approved within your DMP. The grant payment rate is shown on the Woodland Improvement Grant page.

Eligibility criteria

  • You must own or lease the land
  • If you are a tenant or contractual licensee, you must discuss the proposed application with your landlord to make sure it does not break the conditions of your tenancy or licence, and submit a Landlord Notification Form with your Proposal.
  • If you have a tenancy or a licence with less than five years to run you must complete a Landlord Declaration form and ask your Landlord or the landowner to sign the declaration on that form.
  • You must provide a Deer Management Plan (DMP) that sets out the aims and the rationale for the proposed operations. These operations should be listed and costed within the DMP. The net costs of carrying out the Deer Control must exceed the £6 per hectare per year in each of the five years.
  • The DMP must show that there will be clear beneficial changes in the woodland and/or habitat from this support
  • Operations listed in the DMP must comply with Best Practice Guidance.
  • If you intend to fence areas, you must assess the risks using the Joint Agency Fencing Guidance and where required, mitigate any high negative impacts in line with this guidance. Please note that compensatory deer culling may be necessary.
  • The minimum eligible area is 10ha. This can consist of more than one woodland block.
  • The woodland area must have 20% tree cover or greater distributed over the whole area. There can be areas of open ground (OG) eligible up to 20% of the total grant aidable area. OG must be mapped to qualify.
  • You should not obstruct or hinder public access. Your proposals must show the timing of any fence removal.
  • If you intend to protect the trees only by deer culling then the DMP must show that this is achievable and sustainable.
  • All of your proposed work must comply with the UK Forestry Standard
  • You will not be eligible for this option where payments are being made for deer control under "Native Woodlands" or " LISS" Options. You will also not be eligible if you are managing deer under the Scottish Forestry Grants Scheme

Forestry Commission Scotland provides a blank deer management plan template as part of its Technical Guidance.

Details you need to provide with your Proposal

Before your Proposal reaches the "Proposal Commit" stage you must provide:

  • A Deer Management Plan (DMP)

This must be agreed by Forestry Commission Scotland and where appropriate Scottish Natural Heritage. This Plan must clearly set out the work that will be carried out and comply with the Deer Commission for Scotland best practice guidance. The DMP must include an itemised projection of expenditure and revenue for a period of at least 5 years

Within the DMP you must demonstrate that grant support is provided to reduce damage on vulnerable crops, sensitive habitats and other woodland areas where deer management is essential to control deer and you will need to describe the beneficial changes that will take place in the woodland and/or habitat and that the deer population will be reduced and /or maintained at acceptable levels.

In each of these woodland areas it is critical that either the vulnerable crop or the important habitat is identified. If there is no vulnerable crop or habitat the applicant will need to provide the reason(s) for including these woodlands, which should be made clear within the Management Plan text.

You must submit information on how you will be implementing monitoring evidence on the success of the DMP in year 5, at which time we will review the plan and consider eligibility for further support.

  • A map showing the boundary of the area within which you will be carrying out the work. To ensure you mark your map correctly, please use the Mapping Guidance
  • A Forestry Outcome Plan. The Forestry Outcome Plan will ask for certain information so that we can assess your proposal. For this Reducing Deer Impact option, if you are using fencing to exclude the deer, we will ask you to describe how you will mitigate any negative impacts

Claims and Inspections

Once you have completed your first year of approved operations (as listed in your DMP), then you should submit a capital claim.

The payment will cover deer control over the eligible woodland area during the first 5 years of the DMP.

You cannot make a claim for an area that exceeds that agreed in your contract. You must claim for the areas as detailed in your Schedule of Works, e.g. you cannot make an interim claim for part of the area shown on a single line of your Schedule of Works

For details of the procedure for submitting claims and the period within which you must do this please see the overview for Standard Cost and Actual cost Capital Payments

We will inspect the completed work to ensure that this meets the agreed management plan and the specification of agreed operations.

List of links to relevant technical guidance

The UK Forestry Standard

Deer Commission for Scotland Best Practice Guidance

Joint Agency Fencing Guidance

FCS Guidance 'Management Plans for Semi-Natural Woodlands'

FCS Guidance 'Deer Impact Reduction'

FCS Guidance 'Long Term Forest Planning'

FC Forest Practice Guide ' Restoration of Native Woodland on Ancient Woodland Sites'

FC Forest Practice Guides to the Management of Semi- Natural Woodlands

Species Action Notes for Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Red Squirrel

Habitat management for Black Grouse

Habitat management for Capercaillie