Die-back may have ecological benefits

  Until now clearing and reforestation has been the best strategy to recover a forest affected by Die-back, bark beetles, heat, drought, storms and fires throughout Germany, according to their Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Dead Ash from Die-back and dead spruce and beech from beetles are often seen by nature lovers who walk through the forests. The plan to reverse the damage usually consists of large scale clean-up followed by a reforestation programme. At least 500 million euros are needed for the programme and subsequent maintenance. Preserving dead wood The Government’s initiative has been considered as a “wrong strategy” by some ecologists from Julius – Maximilians- Universitat  (JMU) Wuerzburg in Bavaria. “This policy is likely to create extensive, even forest stands that remain particularly vulnerable to the impacts of future climate change”. Says the ecologist Simon Thorn. The experts are calling for a radical change. They insist that the Government should reconsider the strategy and financial efforts to create forests resilient to future climate change. The scientists suggest not to remove dead wood and not to conduct reforestations on large scales. For centuries, forestry has followed a clearing and reforestation plan. The consequences: a steady decline in biological diversity and the extinction of many fungi and insects that depend on dead wood. According to Thorn, this collides with the goals of the Government coalition that the dramatic decline should be halted. Instead, public subsidies must be aimed at preserving dead wood created by disturbances.     Forest Dieback 2.0 In the 1980’s there was widespread forest damage in Central Europe, mainly caused by air pollution due to industry and traffic. At that time there was talk of “Waldsterben or “Forest Dieback”. The current catchword “Waldsterben 2.0” refers to this period. The addition “2.0” expresses that the current forest damage has other causes this time, namely climate change....
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Forest Operations in Silvergrove, Co. Cork

In response to the enormous amount of interest regarding the recent forestry operations in Silvergrove, Kilbarry, Co. Cork, (loosely referred to as Toon Wood) I’m delighted to take this opportunity to answer some of the genuine concerns raised, and to give some background and explanation of what we are trying to achieve there.   Background The land owner at Silvergrove is a woman with a keen interest in both history and the environment. She approached Ecoplan Forestry in 2014 wondering if she could somehow combine her poor agricultural land and scrub woodland into the ancient, traditional land management practice of ‘wood pasture’, the mutually beneficial integration of trees, forages and livestock. ‘Wood Pasture’ or Silvopasture is an enlightened land management technique. It is currently being promoted by the Forest Service as Agro-forestry due to it’s enormous benefits, and is grant-aided at the establishment stage. Please see the sites: Silvopasture and agroforestry.  I was extremely interested in the project. It was a tradition in the area, and it would have a range of benefits both economic and environmental.   The Application Process My initial site visit showed a farm that had fallen into disrepair over the years. Neither farmland nor woodland; furze, bracken and willow were encroaching onto the open fields throughout. The existing trees were predominantly clusters of coppiced ash, birch and willow, with individual oak and holly in places. The tree stocking was varied, but generally extremely low, and thicker on the boundaries. Ash was regenerating naturally, along with pockets of the other species in places. I estimated the 13Ha was 50% open fields, 50% scrub woodland. I applied for a General Felling Licence (GFL) in May 2015. The site was in the 3km NPWS referral zone, and the local Forest Service (FS) Inspector is their Native Woodland expert, so I was confident that the application would be assessed by expert professionals who were well able to assess any potential issues. 3 months later FS responded with a query – ‘whether or not this is a thinning or a clearfell application and if it’s a clearfell application, a replanting plan must be submitted’. I responded with the details as requested, and volunteered the objectives and prescribed operations. The GFL was approved and issued in late 2015. Considering the length of time it took I can only assume it was referred to the NPWS, and assessed in detail by the FS....
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The Giants Grove Project

  The Giants Grove is a remarkable project. The establishment of an 8 hectare woodland dominated by the world’s largest trees, the worlds largest organism by volume. It will take 1200 years to mature. It is really something special. However, the Giants Grove is so much more than just Redwoods. The project has been carefully planned to be of enormous benefit to the environment, across a wide range of aspects. The Redwoods are widely-spaced, dotted amongst a native woodland. The site consists of Oak, Ash, Birch, Hazel and Scot’s pine, with some Alder, Rowan, Hazel, Holly, Juniper and Spindle. It provides food and cover for a range of wildlife due to its well-developed canopy structure. Surrounded by existing native woodland, which provides essential connectivity between 300+ Hectares.   One of the most exciting aspects of the Giants Grove is how it will connect two large blocks of native broadleaved woodland. The area is already home to red squirrels, voles, shrew, pine marten and even the reclusive otter, in addition to many more common woodland mammal species. There are also large populations of birds and bats, insects and butterflies, all of which will benefit from and thrive in the larger habitat created.  This project is special, on so many levels, in so many aspects. It’s fascinating to imagine how it will look in ten, a hundred or a thousand years. Find out more on the giants Grove website https://www.giantsgrove.ie/ Get in touch for more...
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Forest Consultancy

Ecoplan Forestry are available for a wide range of forest consultancy services to help forest owners make the most of their forest asset. From site reports and recommendations, to valuations or just general advice Ecoplan will be able to give you the information you need, and give you options. Good forest consultancy is essential in order to maximise the potential of your forest asset. For more information, please go to the contacts...
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Forest Asset Management

In order to fully realise the full potential of your forest asset, it is essential to manage that asset correctly and professionally. You can include your forest in the Ecoplan Forestry Management Group to avail of professional advice and updates, annual productivity reports, improved security, and the knowledge that your asset is being nurtured. For more information, please go to the contacts...
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Forest Estate Management

Ecoplan specialise in Forest Estate Management, where our goal is to improve the woodland according to a long-term management plan while providing a reliable sustainable income. Professional Forest Estate Management is essential in order to maximise the potential of your woodland, whether your objective is financial, aesthetic, or biodiversity. We manage a number of Irelands finest Estates where our honesty, reliability and results are greatly appreciated. For more information, please go to the contacts...
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