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Broadform Project

The main objective of the project was to develop treatment protocols for the early management of broadleaved species, up to and after the time of first thinning. Investment in any early management operation of broadleaves has a long payback period. However, such operations are essential as they lay down good stem form and add greatly to the future value of the crop.

A key objective of the project was to determine the optimum silvicultural regime to produce the best quality timber. Particular attention must be paid to the first 6 m of stem (the first log) as this is the most economically important log. This was ascertained through an integrated series of studies on shaping, tending and thinning of broadleaves.

The specific objectives were:

  • Shaping: to develop shaping methods to control early stem form in the 1 to 3 m range.
  • Tending: development of tending practice to favour the best quality stems and the removal of poor quality stems.
  • Thinning: to review current thinning prescriptions and assess their effectiveness under Irish conditions and to establish suitable thinning regimes.


Provisional shaping protocols have been produced for ash, oak, sycamore and beech.


Two ash tending trials have been established to investigate the effect of removal of 33%, 50% and no trees during a tending operation.

Relevant publications:

Farm Forestry Series No. 3: Shaping Young Broadleaves for Quality Timber (PDF)
Farm Forestry Series No. 15: Tending and Thinning Of Broadleaf Forests (PDF)
Silvicultural Guidelines for the Tending and Thinning of Broadleaves (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Further information