Pro Silva Ireland

Learning from French continuous cover forestry: review of the 2018 Pro Silva Study trip to Alsace, France.

October 12, 2018

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This year’s study tour was our largest ever and reflects the growing interest about continuous forestry across Ireland. We were kindly hosted this year by Marc-Etienne Wilhelm of Office National des Forets (ONF) in France. The tour in the Alsace and Vosges region of eastern France took place from September 13th to 16th, 2018 and we had great weather and superb hospitality (with a visit to a local vineyard that had enormous oak barrels made from timbers in the region). In the wide range of forests we were taken to, there was an emphasis on broadleaved (particularly oak) silviculture and we saw a range of sites with different high value hardwood species. . There was also  a session looking at irregular thinning of Douglas fir in the Vosges mountains.

Along with our own members, who include foresters, ecologists, forestry students, harvesters, forest researchers and forest owners, we were also joined by some enthusiastic foresters from the UK. We  gain such a lot from spending time in forests particularly as our French hosts were so knowledgeable. They generously shared the in-the-forest practical aspects of Close-to-Nature continuous cover forestry management so there was much discussion and examples of thinning for bringing on the best growth for timber trees, and how their practices safeguard existing and regenerating trees for biodiversity and the future forest. Particularly useful was that in some forests our study group followed behind professional French as they marked trees for thinning.

These Alsace forests were so inspiring as we could  see effects of skilled thinning in forests that are much more advanced in years and diversity than what we currently have in Ireland. Our French forestry colleagues gave us even more confidence in our continuing efforts.

Our thanks again to Marc-Etienne and his forestry colleagues in  for such an informative and inspiring study trip.

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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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Phil Morgan, President of ProSilva Europe and known to many ProSilva Ireland members recently wrote an article on "The Case for Continuous Cover Forestry". The Forestry & Timber News Journal has kindly allowed us to re-publish the article here.