Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF)
- Unique forest research study based in Ireland, but with international significance
- Focus on the transformation of Sitka spruce stands to Continuous Cover Forestry
- First long-term study of its type to compare three different types of thinning in the context of Continuous Cover Forestry
- Five year project led by Teagasc Forestry Development Department and University College Dublin (2017-2022)
- Builds on the earlier COFORD-funded Low Impact Silvicultural Systems (LISS) project (2010-2014)
This TranSSFor website provides a summary of the project and has the following sections:
- Introduction (see below)
- Experimental design – pathways for transforming forest stands
- Details of the thinning regimes
- Assessing tree growth and quality
- Skills development and training
- Further reading
- Project outputs
A significant challenge in Irish forestry is the need to sustain timber production while increasing forest ecosystem resilience to threats from pests, diseases and climate change. Studies elsewhere in Europe have shown that forests composed of mixed species and stands with irregular structure can be highly resilient and deliver diverse ecosystem services.
Most forests in Ireland are composed of young, single-species plantations managed on the clearfell silvicultural system. Alternative silvicultural systems that create more diverse forest structures are largely untested. To investigate this issue in more detail, the Teagasc Forestry Development Department and University College Dublin (UCD) have organised a five-year research study called the TranSSFor project that focuses on a silviculture approach called continuous cover forestry (CCF).
An in-depth introduction to CCF can be found here.
Benefits to industry
Sitka spruce is the most widely cultivated non-native timber species in Europe and Ireland. The TranSSFor project and its predecessor are the first studies on stand transformation in Sitka spruce plantations in Ireland; the research is of international significance. Results are expected to inform the management of forest stands on sites suitable for CCF. The current project will conclude in 2022, following the fourth stand intervention. CCF is becoming more widely adopted in Ireland and the TranSSFor project will continue to generate important information in future years.
- Dr Ian Short, Project Coordinator and Principal Investigator, Teagasc
- Dr Niall Farrelly, Forestry Researcher, Teagasc
- Dr Áine Ní Dhubhain, Professor, UCD Forestry
- Edward (Ted) Wilson, Walsh Scholar, Teagasc
Funding and Partners
The TranSSFor project is funded by Teagasc Core funding and the Walsh Scholarships Programme. It builds on the Low Impact Silvicultural Systems (LISS) project, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (CoFoRD) 2010-2014. We are grateful to Paddy Purser (Purser Tarleton Russell Ltd) for advice with this study. We thank Liam Byrne (Larry Byrne & Sons (Timber) Ltd) and Padraig O'Tuama (CCF management) for their support in many aspects of the project. We also thank Coillte, and Sandra and Lasse Jorgensen for hosting the two research sites.