Update on the COFORD Low Impact Silvicultural Systems (LISS) project in Ireland

by Lucie Vitkova, PhD student on the LISS project

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Slideshow of some of the varied sites across Ireland involved in the LISS project and database: photos by Lucie Vitkova

The COFORD (Council for Forest Research and Development, Ireland) project on Low Impact Silvicultural Systems (LISS) in Ireland  is a four year project, now in its third year aimed at developing a greater understanding of Low Impact Silvicultural Systems and their use in Ireland.

There are a number of different work packages within the project including following:

  • A thinning experiment aiming to assess the suitability of three thinning patterns to initiate the process of transformation of young Sitka spruce stands (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) to LISS in Ireland. Two young (18 and 19 years-old) Sitka spruce forests were selected for this experiment since this species accounts for the largest proportion of the Irish forestry estate. Three thinning patterns (low thinning, crown thinning and graduated density thinning) were replicated three times in both forests yielding eighteen experimental plots altogether.

  • A database of forest properties managed under LISS was established in order to assess to what extent has LISS been used in Ireland. The database included e.g. forest property size, age, location, species, length of LISS management, specific silvicultural system used etc. A random sample (10%) of the forest properties was selected and the forest properties were visited and inspected to see if the information provided by forest managers and forest owners match the state of the forest property on the ground.

  • Six AFI (Association Futaie Irrégulière) research plots were set up throughout Ireland (five Coillte Teoranta forests and one private forest). Inventory of each plot was conducted. The measurements are to be repeated every fifth year. In the meantime all management inputs (time and expense) and outputs (timber volumes and revenues) will be recorded and the performance of the forest management  is will be assessed over time.

  • A survey of forestry professionals was carried on in order to investigate their opinions of and attitude towards the practice of continuous cover forestry in Ireland.

  • An economic study of LISS including a literature review of work published on the economics of LISS will be conducted. Further work on the economics of the transformation process in young Sitka spruce stands to LISS management will also be done.

The project steering group comprises of a number of local and international forestry experts:

  • Seamus Kennedy (Forest Service, Ireland)

  • Phillipe Morgan (SelectFor Ltd., Continuous Cover Forestry Group UK, President ProSilva Europe, Wales)

  • Michael Carey (Forestry Consultant, Ireland)

  • Jurii Diaci (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; ProSilva Slovenia)

  • Mick Keane (Coillte Teo., Ireland)

  • Sarah Wall (GMIT, Ireland)

  • Pro Silva Ireland are officially represented  by ProSilva Committee member and Timber harvester, Liam Byrne

The other project partners are Coillte Teo., Ireland and Purser Tarleton Russell Ltd

Project contacts:

Project coordinator: Áine Ní Dhubháin

Address: University College Dublin, School of Agriculture & Food Science, Agriculture and Food Science, Belfield, Dublin 4

Email: aine.nidhubhain@ucd.ie

PhD student: Lucie Vítková

Address: University College Dublin, School of Agriculture & Food Science, Agriculture and Food Science, Belfield, Dublin 4

Email: lucie.vitkova@ucdconnect.ie

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