The Flemish government has launched a campaign to encourage landowners to create more woods and will offer up to €25,000 per hectare of land for people who take part in the initiative.
Flanders is aiming to create an extra 4,000 hectares of woods by the end of 2024 and has launched a media campaign focusing on landowners to help it achieve this goal.
"For the first time, there is no lack of support from the Environment Minister, no lack of resources, no lack of helping hands, but there is still a lack of land to provide extra woods," Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir wrote in a statement.
"If we want to realise our ambitions, we still need a lot of land. We already have about 1,400 ha of land that is in the right state for woods to be planted in the coming years, but we are looking for more. That is why we are reaching out to all landowners who love our environment," she added.
In exchange, landowners will receive a subsidy and practical support starting from an area of 0.1 hectares. The Flemish nature preservation agency Natuur en Bos will cover the purchase of the necessary trees. A specific website has been created to allow people to calculate how much aid they can receive for planting a large number of trees.
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Landowners who apply via the website will be contacted for an exploratory talk during which all important matters will be discussed, from what permits are needed to what type of tree should be planted, and when.
Nine out of ten people in the region would like more woods and forests to be created, according to a market survey conducted by iVOX on behalf of the Agency for Nature and Forests, as they are convinced that this will have added value to combat greenhouse warming, and improve biodiversity and air quality.
Together with the region's "forest alliance," including associations such as Natuurpunt, the Bosgroepen, Bos+, the Regional Landscapes and Landelijk Vlaanderen, the government is already working to add more green spaces across the country.