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Research Tasks

This section provides an overview of the planned project work.

1. Knowledge Transfer

Dr. Ian Short 

  • Overview:
    • Share research and methods with interested parties.
  • Objectives:
    • Share information and results with key stakeholders;
    • Receive input from interested and expert persons.
  • Method:
    • Share the results through videos, articles, field days, excursions, presentations and workshops.
  • Discover some events where ContinuFOR was featured. 

2. Status and potential of CCF in Ireland 

Dr. John Devaney 

  • Overview:
    • Estimate the area of forest currently undergoing transformation to CCF;
    • Estimate the forest area suitable for transformation to CCF;
    • Identify the drivers and barriers to CCF adoption.
  • Objectives:
    • Provide an updated benchmark of the extent and condition of CCF stands in Ireland;
    • Assess stakeholder perceptions and goals regarding CCF;
    • Estimate the area of Sitka spruce plantations suitable for conversion to CCF.
  • Method:
    • Questionnaire for Irish forest managers;
    • Existing national forest datasets;
    • GIS data on forest, land, and climate features.

3. Evaluation of CCF transformation methods 

Dr. Ian Short 

  • Objectives:
    • Estimate likely stem form and mechanical properties from CCF forests for three management options;
    • Compare understorey light levels to management options and subsequent natural regeneration.
  • Method:
    • Measurement of existing field trials before thinning using non-destructive testing (NDT) tools and ranking stem form;
    • Understorey species survey for abundance and diversity, alongside light condition.

4. Evaluation and calibration of CCF growth models 

Prof. Maarten Nieuwenhuis 

  • Overview:
    • Single tree growth models provide the only feasible approach to project the growth of forests under irregular stand management;
    • Existing single tree models need to be evaluated and calibrated for use in CCF stands in Ireland.
  • Objectives:
    • Assess a range of existing single tree models to forecast growth in CCF stands in Ireland;
    • Collate and assess available data sources;
    • Evaluate and calibrate two single tree models;
    • Evaluate and prioritise potential model extensions.
  • Method:
    • Review existing single-tree growth models;
    • Collate available data from Irish CCF forests/plots;
    • By cross validation with the data available, two models, one distance dependent and one distance independent, will be assessed;
    • Use the outcome of the cross-validation process to evaluate potential improvements (e.g. regeneration sub-model) of the selected models.

5. Multifunctionality of CCF 

Dr. John Devaney 

  • Overview:
    • Investigate the services CCF forests provide that are above and beyond the production of wood. These include biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and climate resilience.
  • Objectives:
    • Determine how transformation to CCF impacts biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and resilience to abiotic and biotic damage.
  • Method:
    • Carbon pools estimated using the National Forest Inventory approach;
    • Use existing national forest datasets on tree damage and forest management histories;
    • Understorey vegetation surveys across a network of CCF sites.

6. Financial analysis of transformation 

Prof. Aine Ni Dhubhain 

  • Overview:
    • A financial comparison of the costs and benefits (focussing on timber production and carbon dynamics) will be conducted using existing data from experimental plots and stands being transformed to CCF.
  • Objectives:
    • Analyse financial performance of experimental plots and demonstration stands being transformed to CCF;
    • Simulate the further development (and associated economics) of the experimental stands;
    • Analyse the carbon dynamics associated with different approaches to transforming stands to CCF;
    • Investigate the short and long-term challenges and benefits to the processing sector of a change of a change towards CCF.
  • Method:
    • Use ContinuFOR data from earlier tasks to calculate costs and revenues for different approaches to transforming stands to CCF;
    • Use the calibrated growth models developed in Task 4 to simulate the further development (and associated economics and carbon dynamics) of the experimental stands described in Task 3;
    • Conduct a survey of sawmillers and forest contractors to determine their views around increasing the area of forests managed under CCF.