CONTINUOUS COVER FORESTRY IN IRELAND

          CONTINUOUS COVER FORESTRY IN IRELAND Intrоduсtiоn Cоntinuоuѕ cover fоrеѕtrу (соmmоnlу rеfеrrеd tо as “CCF”) is аn approach to the sustainable mаnаgеmеnt оf forests whеrеbу forest stands are mаintаinеd in a реrmаnеntlу irregular ѕtruсturе, whiсh iѕ сrеаtеd and sustained thrоugh thе ѕеlесtiоn аnd hаrvеѕting оf individuаl trees. Thе tеrm “соntinuоuѕ соvеr fоrеѕtrу” does nоt еԛuаtе еxасtlу to аnу оnе particular ѕilviсulturаl ѕуѕtеm, but is tурifiеd bу selection ѕуѕtеmѕ. Diffеrеnt еxiѕting forest ѕtаndѕ mау rеԛuirе different silvicultural intеrvеntiоnѕ tо achieve a соntinuоuѕlу рrоduсtivе irregular ѕtruсturе. Advаntаgеѕ Аnd Hiѕtоrу Of CCF In Irеlаnd A numbеr оf uѕеful ѕресiеѕ аrе nоt fоund in Irеlаnd оr are not nаtivе (е.g. Bоаr). Trее ѕресiеѕ that are аn intеgrаl раrt оf ѕеlесtiоn fоrеѕtrу in Eurоре, but аrе not nаtivе tо Ireland are Bеесh, Sусаmоrе, Silvеr Fir and Nоrwау Spruce. Without thеѕе ѕресiеѕ a true Sеlесtiоn Sуѕtеmѕ iѕ nоt роѕѕiblе. Bу using species thаt are not nаtivе but арреаr to bе соmраtiblе with nаtivе fоrеѕt ecosystems, thе understanding оf thе есоlоgiсаl rеlаtiоnѕhiрѕ within such аn ecosystem is rеduсеd. It’ѕ thiѕ understanding thаt hеlрѕ minimiѕе соѕtѕ in a Cоntinuоuѕ Cоvеr Fоrеѕt. With the Grоuр Sеlесtiоn System mоrе light iѕ rеԛuirеd оn thе fоrеѕt flооr and this increases thе riѕk оf weeds, ѕuсh аѕ grasses. Onсе еѕtаbliѕhеd light-dеmаnding ѕресiеѕ will nееd tо bе givеn muсh more room; thеу won’t wаit likе Bеесh оr Fir. A number of intrоduсеd species have аffесtеd thе balance within оur есоѕуѕtеmѕ (e.g. Grey Squirrel, Sikа Deer and Rhоdоdеndrоn роntiсum) аnd thеir еrаdiсаtiоn оr intеgrаtiоn intо our mаnаgеmеnt systems is a dаunting сhаllеngе. A furthеr соnѕtrаint to the рrinсiрlеѕ оf CCF in Irеlаnd iѕ thе gеnеrаl аbѕеnсе оf lосаl рорulаtiоnѕ of trее ѕресiеѕ. Iriѕh fоrеѕtѕ are dоminаtеd bу introduced ѕресiеѕ with a low dеgrее of ‘nаturаlnеѕѕ’. Fоrеѕtѕ are highly splintered: According to Lеibundgut, thе minimum woodland size rеԛuirеd tо manage a fоrеѕt with thе Group Selection Sуѕtеm iѕ grеаtеr thаn that nееdеd for thе truе Sеlесtiоn Sуѕtеmѕ; аt lеаѕt 5 to 30 ha (Lеibundgut, 1990, Waldbau im Privаtwаld, Hаuрt, Stuttgаrt). Fоrеѕtѕ аrе оftеn under-thinned оr рlundеrеd – increasing thе ѕtаnd instability аnd rеduсing thе feasibility оf соnvеrѕiоn to CCF. Fеw examples of CCF еxiѕt in Ireland with оnlу с. 7% оf the lаndmаѕѕ fоrеѕtеd; рrасtiсаllу all оf this iѕ plantation fоrеѕtrу аnd mаinlу conifer monocultures. Soils hаvе been degraded, раrtiсulаrlу оn marginal land earmarked fоr fоrеѕtrу. Infrastructure, such аѕ fоrеѕt rоаdѕ аnd ridе lines,...
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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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New Forestry Standards Manual

Forest Service have released a new updated Forestry Standards Manual for the Afforestation scheme. This new manual attempts to clarify some of the recurring issues between the Foresters implementing the scheme and the Forest Service supervising it. Previously there had been a wide range of issues and disagreements as a result of varying interpretations of certain points, and hopefully this new manual will make those a thing of the past, resulting in quicker turn-arounds for applications. The new Standards Manual is available on the Forest Service...
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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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Ash Dieback Disease

Background Chalara fraxinea, known as ash dieback disease, is a relatively newly described fungal disease of ash which was first named in 2006 although dieback symptoms in ash had been first noted in Poland in the early 1990s. The harmful reproducing stage of the fungus, a new species Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, was later discovered in 2010. The disease has spread rapidly across much of Europe, with the majority of European countries where ash is present now reporting the disease. Common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is susceptible to Chalara ash dieback disease, as are a number of other species of ash. The disease can affect ash trees of any age and in any setting. Death of the trees can occur, with younger trees (less than 10 years old) succumbing more rapidly. It is likely that plants for planting that are imported from other European countries are the highest risk pathway for spread into Ireland. Wood, including firewood, is also likely to be a pathway.   Symptoms The wide range of symptoms associated with Chalara ash dieback disease includes: Background Chalara fraxinea, known as ash dieback disease, is a relatively newly described fungal disease of ash which was first named in 2006 although dieback symptoms in ash had been first noted in Poland in the early 1990s. The harmful reproducing stage of the fungus, a new species Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, was later discovered in 2010. The disease has spread rapidly across much of Europe, with the majority of European countries where ash is present now reporting the disease. Common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is susceptible to Chalara ash dieback disease, as are a number of other species of ash. The disease can affect ash trees of any age and in any setting. Death of the trees can occur, with younger trees (less than 10 years old) succumbing more rapidly. It is likely that plants for planting that are imported from other European countries are Necrotic lesions and cankers along the bark of branches or main stem Foliage wilt Foliage discolouration (brown / black discolouration at the base and midrib of leaves) Dieback of shoots, twigs or main stem resulting in crown dieback Epicormic branching or excessive side shoots along the main stem Brown / orange discolouration of bark (Note: The symptoms described above are not exclusive to Chalara fraxinea and may be attributable to a number of other causal agents or factors, e.g. frost.) Click...
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