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Hardwood Focus 2020

Webinar: Exploring markets for small-diameter broadleaves

Thursday 15 October, from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm 


Broadleaf species make up almost 29% of our forest area with most of our broadleaf farm forests planted in the last twenty years.

As our young broadleaf resource develops further, there is now a need for the development of market outlets for this new resource. Teagasc research into potential end uses is on-going.

There are several very good reasons for doing so: reduce our reliance on imported hardwoods, encourage best practice, increase forest profitability and therefore sustainability, support the rural economy, lock carbon for the long-term into valuable hardwood products and develop (bio-)diverse and productive broadleaf forests.

Could value markets be sought for the increasing sizes and volume of "small-diameter" hardwood logs? Are there opportunities to add value to thinning from our developing young broadleaf forests and new native woodlands?

These are some of the questions that this webinar discussed. To complement July's Virtual Talking Timber, this webinar focused entirely on broadleaf forests.


This webinar is part of the Hardwood Focus initiative. Broadleaf forest owners in Limerick started a discussion group in 2018 with Teagasc facilitation, DAFM support and GMIT collaboration. They are members of the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO) Group .

Participants in the group are actively managing their broadleaf woodlands. Many have already carried out one or more thinning operations. They are now looking to explore markets to add value (beyond that of firewood).

With the assistance of Teagasc and DAFM support, the group has engaged with a range of activities. These include a study tour to Wales in 2019 to meet hardwood producers and development agencies, logs testing in 2020 in collaboration with GMIT and the production of this video in December 2020. 

Webinar programme

11.30 am: Short video featuring Ailbhe Gerrard, member of the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners
11.35 am: Introduction by Dr Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of the Forestry Development Department, Teagasc
11.40 am:  New broadleaf woodlands in Ireland and the Hardwood Focus initiative (PDF)
Jonathan Spazzi, Forestry Development Officer, Teagasc
11.50 am:  Small diameter hardwood research and linking with hardwood users (PDF)
Sean Garvey, Furniture Design Lecturer, GMIT Letterfrack
12.00 pm: Small diameter log production and its markets (PDF)
Dermot Doyne, Manager, Whitney Sawmills, Herefordshire, UK
12.10 pm: Q and A session 
12.30 pm: End

Profile of speakers

Ailbhe Gerrard, Brookfield Farm

Ailbhe Gerrard is a farmer and a member of the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners. After working and living in Dublin for many years, she returned to Brookfield Farm, Co Tipperary beside her family home. Ailbhe has farmed Brookfield Farm for over six years - growing skills, developing new ideas and making collaborations with skilled farmers, apiarists and consumers.

She diversified her farm production to include organic lamb, tillage, honey, ecotourism as well as forestry. She established ten hectares of broadleaves including a native woodland on the farm. The main objectives for her farm woodland are biodiversity, recreation and landscape as well as additional farm income.

Dr Nuala Ní Fhlatharta, Head of the Forestry Development Department, Teagasc

Dr Nuala Ní Fhlatharta is Head of the Forestry Development Department at Teagasc where she leads a team of forestry advisers, specialists and researchers.

The forestry advisory service is focussed on the needs of the farm forestry sector including forest establishment, management, harvesting and providing development support to forest owners and forest owner groups. The main research areas include site classification, forest genetics and tree improvement, and conifer and broadleaf management and silviculture.

Nuala represents Teagasc at national and international level on forestry-related issues.

Jonathan Spazzi, Forestry Development Officer, Teagasc

Jonathan Spazzi is the Teagasc Forestry Development Officer for Kerry and Limerick since 2017. He has previously practiced as an independent forester in Ireland for over 15 years. In particular, his work has focused on integrating timber production and non-timber benefits through the use of Continuous Cover Management and Agroforestry Systems.

Jonathan holds a MSc in Forestry (Continuous Cover Systems) from Bangor University, a BSc (Hons) in Forest Management as well as other training in Forest Mycology, Environmental Science and Renewable Energy Technologies. He is a member of the Society of Irish Foresters and a committee member of Pro Silva Ireland.

Sean Garvey, Furniture Design Lecturer, GMIT Letterfrack

Sean Garvey has 20 years’ experience as a lecturer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Letterfrack campus, the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology. He is chair of the Furniture Design and Manufacture and Furniture Making and Architectural Woodworking programmes.

He is currently co-supervising a master’s research project looking at the working properties and utilisation of small-diameter Irish-grown alder (Alnus glutinosa). He has a keen interest in close-to-nature forestry and is the treasurer of Pro Silva Ireland.

Dermot Doyne, Manager, Whitney Sawmills, Herefordshire, UK

Dermot Doyne is a trained cabinet maker and spent most of his working life in that field. This includes running a bespoke joinery and shopfitting company.

He has been running operations at Whitney Sawmills since the beginning of 2018 where he has been able to utilise his experience as a customer of many sawmills and timber merchants over the years.

The Hardwood Focus webinar is organised by Teagasc in partnership with LTWO and support from DAFM through the Forestry Promotion Fund.