Danish farmers could be paid to plant hundreds of new forests

An autumnal forest scene in Denmark, one that could become available in more locations due to a scheme offering farmers a grant to plant trees.
An autumnal forest scene in Denmark, one that could become available in more locations due to a scheme offering farmers a grant to plant trees. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Several hundred new forests could be planted in Denmark after authorities received almost 400 applications from farmers interested in a grant for planting trees on their fields.

The Danish Agricultural Agency (Landbrugsstyrelsen) received 381 applications from farmers interested in the grant, the agency said in a statement.

There are several reasons why the Danish state wants to pay farmers to plant forests, Danish Agricultural Agency head of department Frank Josephsen Kargo said.

“Forestation has its place in major agendas being talked about in current times. It’s all about reducing nitrogen emissions into water environments,” Kargo said.

“It also contributes to reducing CO2 emissions because forests absorb CO2, as well as reducing seepage of pesticides and nitrogen at drinking water sources by planting forest around them,” he explained.

Money for the grants comes from an EU funding programme for rural regions, totalling 70 million kroner.

Farmers can apply for up to 28,000 kroner per hectare of land they want to convert to forest, depending on the type of forest which is planted.

The agency must now review the applications, with the funding to be distributed in the most beneficial way for the environment.

“We will get up to relatively large areas. If these applications come to pass, we think we’ll get around 2,000 hectares of forest,” Kargo said.

“That way it’ll actually be a lot of forest and have a good effect,” he added.

With 34 applications, more requests for the grants came from Vejle Municipality than any other local authority in Denmark.

The mid-sized Jutland town currently boasts two forests, Nørreskov and Sønderskov, close to its centre and has a rugged, hilly landscape atypical for Denmark due to its location at the mouth of Vejle Fjord.

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