Pro Silva Ireland

April Field Day, Study Tour and Good News for Continuous Cover Forestry – CCF

March 26, 2018

Upcoming Field Day – April 28th

Meeting Time 11.00 AM, expected finish approx. 3.00 PM


The entrance to Belmont Farm is at .  Leave the N11 at either of junctions 7 or 9 and follow Pro Silva Event signage from there.

The April Field Day will be held on Saturday 28th April at Belmont Farm, Bray, Co. Wicklow, owned by the Brabazon family (NB this is a change of date from Friday April 27th previously notified). We will be visiting the “Silent Bog Wood” which is an area of old woodland that is currently being thinned. The wood contains some of the best European larch in the country and is being used as a source of timber for traditional boat building and repair. It is rich in other species such as oak, ash, beech, sycamore, Douglas fir and under-story species such as holly and hazel. As an old woodland, it is rich in biodiversity despite the ever increasing pressures of urban development and local population growth. The wood is used for multiple purposes including film location (e.g. Vikings, Badlands and many others), a forest school, riding trails, adventure races (e.g. Hell and Back). We will discuss the challenges of facilitating these multiple and diverse uses while maintaining timber production without compromising biodiversity and the character of the wood. The farm is also the location of Kiln Dried Hardwoods and we will see their processing and drying facilities and discuss these in the context of markets for products from CCF woodlands.

Participants should bring a packed lunch and be dressed for the outdoors!

As usual at Pro Silva Ireland field days we will be collecting a voluntary contribution (suggested as €20) towards the running of field days and other events.

Pro Silva Ireland wishes to thank the Brabazon family for hosting this event.

Annual Study Tour                                                                                                                                            

We are kindly being hosted this year by Marc-Etienne Wilhelm of ONF in France. The tour will be in the Alsace and Vosges region of eastern France and will take place from September 13th to 16th. There will be an emphasis on broadleaved (particularly oak) silviculture and we will see a range of sites with different high value hardwood species. . There will also be a session looking at irregular thinning of Douglas fir in the Vosges mountains. Marc-Etienne is one of Europe’s top silviculturalists who provides training for French foresters and different forestry groups from around Europe and we are honoured that he has agreed to host us.
We will be flying to Stuttgart in Germany and hiring (self-drive) vehicles based on the numbers. The flight details are:

· Ryanair: Dublin (16.00) to Stuttgart (19.10) Thursday 13th September
· Ryanair: Stuttgart (19.55) to Dublin (21.10) Sunday 16th September

We will be based in the town of Obernai which is due south-west from Strasbourg.
Places are limited. To secure a place on this trip, please forward a €50 deposit to our treasurer Manus Crowley, 18 Marian Place, Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny. As usual with Pro Silva Ireland study tours, we will ask participants to organise their own flights and then we will share costs such as car hire on the trip. Typically we use budget accommodation and we will advise participants of the selected accommodation in due course.

Pilot CCF Grant Scheme

We are delighted to have been influential in the recent announcement by the Forest Service of a pilot grant scheme for Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF). This is a fantastic recognition of the growing support for CCF in Ireland and an endorsement of Pro Silva Ireland’s work in this area since our foundation in 2000. We have appointed a sub-committee of Liam Byrne, Padraig O’Tuama, Jonathan Spazzi and Paddy Purser to liaise with the Forest Service in drawing up the requirements of the scheme, which should be available for applications later this year.

Native Woodland Conference – April 30th to May 1st 2018 – Glenview Hotel, Delgany, Co. Wicklow

Woodlands of Ireland are hosting a native woodland conference titled “20 Years A-Growing” to celebrate two decades of work to restore, manage and create new native woodlands in Ireland. There will be presentations by leading Irish and international experts will cover a wide range of topics, from managing native woodlands and hedgerows to flood management and woodlands for water protection, while panel discussions will focus on the steps that should be taken to ensure Ireland meets its ambitious targets to plant and restore native woodlands over the next three years. Other topics will include the recent arrival of the great spotted woodpecker, spiders and other invertebrates from native woodlands, invasive species and climate change, seed saving, deer ecology and rewilding. Pro Silva Ireland have been invited to provide a speaker and Jonathan Spazzi will be fulfilling this role with a presentation entitled “Growing quality timber in native woodlands through Continuous Cover Forestry”. For booking and information visit

New Article on CCF in Sitka spruce

A new article by Ted Wilson (Teagasc Walsh Fellow and UCD PhD Candidate) entitled “Transforming Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry” has been published in Forestry and Energy Review.  This can be viewed and downloaded at. abstract reads:  “Forestry is entering a new phase where traditional management objectives must be balanced with the need to enhance ecological resilience.  Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) is one of the most important options for sustainable forestry now being considered in Ireland.  CCF is a flexible and adaptable management system with potential to create diverse and resilient forest stands.  In this article, we provide a brief overview and consider current research on CCF, especially in production forests dominated by Sitka spruce.”

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2018 Pro Silva Ireland study trip to France in September: now fully booked! Pro Silva Ireland has been delighted with the growing interest in our annual study trips. This year's trip planned for September is now fully subscribed and 24 members will be participating in examining Close-to-Nature managed forests in Eastern France.
Rodney was one of the original founding members of Pro Silva, a signatory of the declaration of Robanov Kot (1989), the Pro Silva founding document. It is his championing of Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF), a term he was instrumental in defining and promoting, that will stand perhaps as his greatest legacy. He was the first chairman of the Continuous Cover Forestry Group (CCFG) and was responsible for establishing a formal association with ProSilva.
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