Native Woodland, an Introduction

NATIVE WOODLAND MANAGEMENT IN IRELAND- AN OVERVIEW Centuries of clearance for agriculture and over-exploitation for lumber have reduced the once extensive native woodlands of Ireland to the remnants we can now see. Instances of old native woodlands continue to be found as little isolated stands mainly in regions with weak soils which were not normally suitable for agriculture. Some areas that are bigger, nonetheless, exist in old estates where they can be managed for timber production and as protection for game. Native woodlands have also grown in the Midlands on rough deserted pasture in uplands, as well as on cutaway bog, particularly in recent decades. Many of our native forests could have existed since post-glacial times (ancient or long-recognized woodlands), and these woodlands have a broader variety of related native plants and animal species, many of which are unique to these regions and not seen in modern commercial plantations. The woodlands are an essential habitat for native species in a landscape which is increasingly controlled by intensive agriculture and are thus the focus of nature conservation and biodiversity improvement. Native woodlands, as the name suggests, are comprised of native tree species. Native woodlands are mainly broadleaved in Ireland. Examples are oak, ash, alder and birch and Scots pine. Native conifer woods are extremely scarce, the very best case being the yew wood in the Killarney National Park on the Muckross Peninsula.   Foresters now recognise their value as hot spots for native biodiversity and now perceive native woodlands in another light. Regional woodlands are being produced in riparian areas adjacent to lakes, rivers and streams to protect water courses from siltation and eutrophication. These places may also provide corridors for wildlife to move through and link the landscape aspects of biodiversity. ¬† CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION Several initiatives have been undertaken recently to restore and enlarge our native woodlands. Each has led to our knowledge of the best way to preserve and manage the native woodland resource. Ecologists, Foresters, contractors, volunteers, as well as other stakeholders working together have developed and executed significant strategies for the restoration of native woodlands. A few of these initiatives are listed below: ¬† National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Restoration work with the native woodlands was first initiated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This organisation manages about 5,000ha that symbolizes the finest of the native forests that have been named as...
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Native Woodland Conservation Scheme – In name only

Forest Service announced the re-opening of the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme at the National Ploughing Championships September 2015. Although welcomed in theory, in practice the new scheme is completely inadequate and basically unworkable. The new scheme focuses more on improving small areas of suitable woodland rather than the conservation of the whole, which the title implies. The old scheme was an exceptional one as it rewarded native woodland owners who conserved their woods, while providing grant-aid for any rejuvenation works. The new scheme has so many up-front costs and constraints that I’d be surprised if many native woodland owners would be willing to jump through so many hoops for so little in return. Forest Service obviously remain focused on the production of small scale exotic conifer plantations, many of which are too small to ever be considered¬†commercial, even if they didn’t actually discourage forest road building in to them. But I believe they really missed out here on an opportunity to help us conserve our native woodlands, our national heritage, not just now but for future generations to enjoy. If our native woodlands are not conserved, protected, improved and given a value, then what incentive is there for their owners to retain them? By the way, there wasn’t even any real public or professional consultation regarding the new scheme as there was with the old. The old scheme worked, and worked well. The new scheme doesn’t, at all. Sean McGinnis Ecoplan Forestry 13/10/15...
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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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