Pro Silva Ireland welcomes the announcement of a new Forest Service Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) support scheme.
“This is a landmark for the development of CCF here and is recognition of the increasing demand for alternatives to clearfell systems amongst forest owners,” he said.
It is also recognised the growing policy imperatives for the delivery of a much wider suite of services from forestry.
“We believe that CCF offers the optimal way forward for the truly sustainable delivery of economic, social and ecological services from woodland management”.
The pilot scheme will provide support for forest owners wishing to transition to CCF and was launched on Tuesday by Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D., who said it would encourage forest owners to consider CCF as a management option.
“This initiative will transform forests into uneven-aged and permanent woodlands enriching the biodiversity of these habitats and enhancing the landscape,” he said.
As an established proponent of CCF for Irish forests, Pro Silva Ireland was invited by the Forest Service to provide advice in the development of the scheme and Mr Purser said the organisation had welcomed the chance to continue in its role as an educator on CCF management.
“Pro Silva Ireland has been at the forefront of supporting foresters and landowners interested in close-to-nature forest management since its foundation in 2000.”
“We look forward to the ongoing development of confidence and expertise in CCF practice in Ireland and this scheme will help landowners and foresters in obtaining this. We also look forward to liaising with the Forest Service with regard to the bedding in of the scheme and will continue to work alongside them in fine-tuning it over time,” Mr Purser said.
It was important as the demand for CCF grew, that support services around mentorship, training and research were further supported, he said.
Mr Purser acknowledged the mentorship Pro Silva Ireland itself had received in developing as an organisation.
“We are extremely grateful for all the support received from our colleagues in different Pro Silva countries across Europe. Without their encouragement and advice we would not be where we are today.”
He said Pro Silva Ireland would encourage foresters and forest owners to engage positively with the new scheme and to utilise it as a support for genuine efforts in transforming woodlands to CCF.
“No doubt we will be running future field days on sites that are supported by the scheme and look forward to continuing to share knowledge and support for other CCF practitioners in Ireland,” Mr Purser said.
For details of the CCF scheme see:
Read the press release from the Dept of Agriculture
The new guidebook “Pro Silva Silviculture” (already in its second printing) provides very practical guidelines on implementing continuous cover forestry and close to nature forestry management practices for Irish conditions and can be bought online from this site.