A number of ProSilva Ireland members recently attended the Continuous Cover forestry conference in the UK. It was a comprehensive conference with a number of field trips, covering topics on management approaches, timber quality, biodiversity, economics, ancient woodland restoration and policy developments, with speakers from across the UK and beyond.
From Ireland, Aine ni Dhubhain from UCD presented the doctoral work of Lucie Vitkova – the first results of Continuous Cover forestry in Ireland and explained results from the COFORD Low Impact Sivilculture System project, in which ProSilva Ireland has contributed and co-managed.
There was also a welcoming statement from Prince Charles endorsing this type of forestry and wishing this event well. His head forester was in attendance too. A guest speaker also talked about Osprey settling in the forests in this lake area and the enormous tourism that has resulted.
The CCFG committee are now compiling information from all the recorded talks and we will share these when they become available.
The event also received considerable press and TV coverage which indicates a growing audience for a different type of forestry in the UK. Recent storms and the increase in tree disease in the UK have brought renewed attention to the important role of forests there.
Below a slideshow of photos from the fieldtrips and conference – click on an image to show full-screen slideshow.
ProSilva Ireland members, ecologists Faith Wilson and Kathy Duffy also attended; people from timber quality and harvesting, forest managers, researchers and forest policy people attended
Jens Haufe (Research Officer, Bangor) led us in a practical tree-marking for thinning exercise
Conference attendees tree-marking for permanent, continuous cover forests
Gary Kerr – Forest Research led a talk about natural and artificial regeneration of continuous covers forests
The natural regeneration in many of the forests was very impressive.
Continuous cover forestry at Wythop forest
Some of the Douglas fir and other broadleaves in this wood.
Phil Morgan (CCFG UK) discussed the AFI international framework, begun in France, that is helping facilitate long-term research of permanent stands.
Ireland is doing well in having already established some longterm research stands.
Phil and his group showed us how the measurements are undertaken at AFI sites
At Thirlmere forest there was talk regarding the necessity of developing permanent forests for water quality issues (and a recent outbreak of Phytophthora affecting larch); The transition to a changed management for this watershed had taken time to be accepted by the local community but people are now realising the tourism, soil stability in the surrounding hills and biodiversity benefits.
Small scale log moving machines are necessary for selective harvesting.
Elspeth MacDonald, Forest Research, talked of timber quality and harvesting; timber quality is being assessed by newly designed sonic testing equipment.
Some of the data from a recent paper.
Two ways of testing for timber density 1) for standing timber – measuring the rate of sound travel across a measured distance up the tree trunk.
2) a tapping monitor for sawn logs
Aine ni Dhubhain, UCD, sharing the results of continuous cover forestry research from Ireland
Our thanks to the conference organisers and the warm welcome we received from the CCFG UK /ProSilva Great Britain members.