A cluster-based approach for identifying farm forest resources to maximise potential markets.
This research project co-funded by COFORD and Teagasc provided a framework for quantifying the wood resources from farm forests in order to maximise potential markets. The study utilised a Geographic Information System (GIS) in order to provide information about the location of forest plantations.
This was achieved by using a cluster-based approach for locating areas with large concentrations of private forest cover that are approaching first thinning. Geographic Information System (GIS) were used in order to provide information about the location of forest plantations. In order to maximise the area covered by the survey, cluster analysis was employed to identify areas with large concentrations of private forest cover that are approaching first thinning. A number of target clusters were identified based on the amount of forest and the proximity to a market place.
In addition, remote sensing techniques were employed, a combination of aerial photography and satellite imagery were examined to provide information about the current state of plantations within clusters. Information was derived from the latest ortho-photography as well as from Quick Bird TM and IKONOS TM satellite imagery. Using these techniques information on access, productive area, roading and thin status were captured. Furthermore, data on forest stand parameters such as height, and crown assessment were also identified.
In the second phase, all plantations within a cluster that are approaching first thinning stage were visited in the field where an assessment of timber quality and volume was performed in each stand. The field survey captured forest growth parameters such as area of stand, top height, basal area and stocking.
Data collected in the field were compiled into a field database and the volume of each stand was computed using the COFORD Dynamic Yield Model “Growfor” (COFORD, 2007). These models are used to generate forecasts of volume production by projecting the growth of stands forward to a reference age.
Information on volume, thinning cycle, thinning yield, thinning year and windthrow risk for each stand in the cluster were made available in a database and used as the main tool for further development work or in the identification of suitable locations for new market opportunities.
- COFORD, 2009 CLUSTER annual report (PDF)
- COFORD, 2008 CLUSTER annual report (PDF)
- 2007 CLUSTER Project (PDF)
- Unlocking farm forest potential - Tresearch Vol3 No 1 Spring 2008 (PDF)
- Teagasc CLUSTER project 0908, Irish Timber & Forestry Sep/Oct 2008 (PDF)
- Contact Dr Niall Farrelly, Teagasc