One of the things that I personally got from the Pro Silva Ireland Continuous Cover Forestry training day was a strong sense of the necessity of engagement with the forest on an on-going basis, over its, and our, lifetimes. This is proper resource management, ‘future-proofing’ both an income stream and a vigorous ecosystem. I also suspect that people living in proximity to a plantation where CCF is practised will result in happier neighbours, in the longer term, than those living near sites destined for clear-felling.

Continuous Cover Forestry seemed like a ‘no-brainer’, and it was always our plan for our forest site, even before we knew there was a term for it. Having grown up on a farm it’s clear to me that working in harmony with nature is always the correct choice. Ecosystems evolve as they do for a reason and it’s so important to respect them!

On the right site, established spruce plantations can present an opportunity to convert to CCF systems, transforming over time to become the diverse and resilient woodlands we need for the ongoing provision of timber and other ecosystem services.

The Pro Silva approach to woodland management offers enormous benefits to biodiversity and wildlife by providing a permanent forest structure in which fauna and flora can thrive over many generations. The awareness of the importance of the protection of our soils, retention of dead wood and of utilising natural processes such as natural regeneration results in a much more holistic approach to how are forests are managed for both timber production, landscape value, carbon sequestration and ecology.

CCF has the potential to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits like no other form of sustainable forestry. The science of CCF is rapidly developing to provide  foresters and woodland owners with the information required for best practice. As a management approach CCF is very hands-on and tangible, and there is great personal fulfilment from working in harmony with nature.

Membership of Pro Silva Ireland has been a really enriching experience for me both professionally and personally.  Those of us who founded Pro Silva Ireland back in 2000 did so to explore the alternatives to clearfelling in Ireland.  But we discovered this amazing network of like minded forestry people, as diverse yet connected as the forest itself.