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EARTH Project

Exploitation And Realisation of Thinnings from Hardwoods


Thinning involves the removal of competitors of selected high quality trees, diseased trees and trees removed for extraction racks. All to favour the growth of the selected trees, maintain stand health and vigour, and to provide access for future management. Many felled trees are small-diameter or of lower quality. In Ireland, hardwood thinnings are mainly used for energy production. Other uses are in chipped form for use in the manufacture of wood-based panels or in the pulp/paper industry.

There is commercial value in seeking to use it in higher value-added end uses as structural components within the construction industry and to develop its volume use in local rural industry.


This 2-year CoFoRD-funded collaborative project, led by NUI Galway (2017-2019) investigated novel and potential added-value uses of Irish hardwood thinnings and developed a grading system for sorting thinnings into different end-use classes.

External project website: http://www.nuigalway.ie/terg/activeprojects/earthproject/ 


  1. Quantify the available resource and quality (from 1st and 2nd thinnings from alder, ash, birch and sycamore).
  2. Determine physical and structural properties of the material, through experimental testing (non-destructive testing and mechanical tests).
  3. Study issues related to drying and durability of the material.
  4. Identify potential end-uses of the material (round timber and wood products, in addition to wood energy products).

Project team

Commercial partners

  • ECC Teoranta, Cornamona, Co Galway (sawmill based in Co Galway, Ireland processing 350,000 m3 per year)
  • Lonza, Spiddal, Co Galway (company specialising in industrial pretreatment and surface protection of wood)


Harte, A.M.; Short, I.; Llana, D.F. (2017). Project overview for the National Forestry Conference. 31stMay 2017, Enfield, Co. Meath, Ireland. Poster presentation.

Short, I. (2017). Project overview for Teagasc Researcher’s Conference. 17th May 2017, Teagasc, Ashtown, Dublin, Ireland. Poster presentation.

Harte, A.M.; Short, I.; Llana, D.F. (2017). Project overview for Ministerial Announcement: Funding for Wood Properties for Ireland. Poster. 16th May 2017, NUI Galway, Ireland.

Harte, A.M.; Short, I. (2017). Project overview for Forestry Show 2017. 5th and 6th May 2017, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland. Poster presentation.