Liam manages a 20-hectare farm forest in County Limerick.
The forest was planted in 1999 and is located on mineral soil. It was planted in two blocks: one block of Sitka spruce with Norway spruce and oak groups and a second planted with ash and oak/Scots pine.
He has developed road access and, to date, has carried out two thinnings on the spruce and the ash section and one thinning on the oak/Scots pine section. Early and regular thinning is very important as it gives an opportunity to remove inferior quality trees, provides appropriate development for remaining trees in the stand and encourages trees rooting for long-term stability. This is a very important factor when managing under Continuous Cover.
Liam is very hands-on in the management of his forest. He has hosted a number of open days for forest owners over the years in association with the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO) group and Teagasc. He and his family spend a good deal of time in the forest. His daughter’s family live next door and the grandchildren use the forest for play.
His objectives are a balanced mix between production, personal satisfaction and legacy. For this reason, he favours CCF and has successfully applied under the new WIS - Continuous Cover Forestry Scheme for a 10-ha section of his forest to include a section of spruce and a smaller section of ash to guide him through the early transformation period.
Unlike conventional spruce thinning, where removal focuses on smaller, poorer quality trees, under CCF, thinning focuses on the initial removal of large, lower quality, trees.
This helps with short-term thinning economics while in the long run facilitating the development of high quality commercial sawlog by retaining the best quality trees. This will ensure high value and a high proportion of sawlog from later selective harvesting operations.