Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Research Impact Highlights - Forestry

Tree improvement programme for native birch

Oliver Sheridan (CELUP)

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Teagasc developed a breeding programme to improve growth quality of native birch species – downy and silver – helping to meet demand for good quality planting material and promoting diversity in Irish forestry. The programme selected and propagated visually healthy trees, and established indoor seed orchards in Teagasc with the propagated plants, with field trials assessing growth quality and evaluating seed orchard trees as parents.

Research has shown a 30% increase in adoption of genetically improved downy birch as a species for plantation under the afforestation scheme in Ireland. Downy birch is now recognised for commercial forestry production. The programme has brought improved planting material to farmers and landowners in Ireland through a partnership between Teagasc and None-So-Hardy (NSH) Nurseries, ensuring a sustainable supply of improved birch.

As a result of Teagasc research, birch was added to the recommended species list by the Forest Service and is now grant-aided. The development of birch as a commercial species supports government policy to increase diversity and biodiversity in Irish forestry. More recently, a silver birch indoor seed orchard was established at Teagasc Oak Park to follow a similar commercialisation route as downy birch.

Contact: oliver.sheridan@teagasc.ie
Other contributors: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, University College Dublin, University College Cork, None-So-Hardy (Forestry) Ltd.
Funding: Initial funding from Council for Forest Research and Development. Current funding from Teagasc.
Impact Pathway: Technology Development & Adoption, Capacity Building.

[pic credit] Teagasc

Under the shoulders of giants

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

The majority of forests in Ireland are even-aged plantations managed under the clearfell silvicultural system. Continuous Cover Forestry systems continuously maintain forest cover by nurturing the development of a new canopy under the older canopy prior to being harvested.

The four-year ContinuFor project is a development of research that has been ongoing since 2010. The continuous maintenance, nurturing and researching of the experiment sites is imperative for the success of such long-term silviculture research.

Photo and description by: Ian Short
Project: ContinuFor: Transformation to Continuous Cover Forestry – Synergies and Tradeoffs
Funded by: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (2021R489)