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Facilitating the supply of wood chip from forest plantations for a major heat user.

This project involves the use of data generated from a previous project CLUSTER, which located areas of high concentration levels of private forestry and derived a local forecast of production for 4,500 ha of private forests in counties Roscommon and Mayo.

CLUSTER identified a number of issues which need to be addressed in order to facilitate the thinning and harvesting of forest plantations so that the forest resource can achieve its full forecast potential wood energy potential.

The key aim of the research is to address the potential of geographic concentrations of forestry as a renewable raw material for the wood energy sector and to identify what are the main barriers to harvest. It will attempt to generate a wood energy forecast based on timber assortments and rank forest plantations based on the ease and cost of harvesting, focussing particularly on the roading infrastructure requirements. It is hoped that the research will develop a template for the assessment of wood energy potential within Cluster areas, and to put in place a system to enable the coordination of a supply chain for a major heat user.

The research objectives can be described as follows:

  • To quantify the likely breakdown of volume by wood energy assortments in first and subsequent thinning operations in forest plantations.
  • To evaluate the roading infrastructure that will facilitate harvesting of forests for wood energy and likely cost implications for policy makers.
  • To provide a potential wood energy flow ranking of plantations based on roading infrastructure, wood energy potential and haulage distance to end users.

Niall Farrelly, Teagasc, Athenry coordinates the project. Henry Phillips, is also part of the project team advising on wood energy assortments, logistics and roading infrastructure.

Relevant publications:

For further information, contact Niall Farrelly, Forestry Researcher, Teagasc