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TranSSFor Project

Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF)

Background

Fifty-two percent of the stocked forest area in Ireland is Sitka spruce. Forest management in Ireland is dominated by the clearfell system; a system that normally entails even-aged structure of the forest. There has been increasing interest in recent years in Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF); an approach to the sustainable management of forests whereby forest stands are maintained in a permanently irregular structure by single tree selection and harvesting. Coillte has adopted a low impact silviculture policy (including CCF) in its broadleaf estate and increasingly private forest owners are also transforming their forest stands using CCF principles.

There is little guidance available related to transformation to CCF in Ireland. The COFORD-funded Low Impact Silvicultural Systems in Ireland project (LISS), led by UCD and completed in 2014, began the process of filling knowledge gaps.

Project

A new 5-year Teagasc-funded project began in 2017, in collaboration with UCD, that will develop the LISS, which studied the initial stages of transformation of two Sitka spruce stands, by investigating their progression and continued management interventions.

Three thinning treatments were used. The stands are on a 3-year thinning cycle and due to be thinned in 2017 and 2020. This project will continue the transformation process by carrying out these thinnings and investigating their impact on stand transformation.

Objectives

  • To build upon a previous DAFM-funded project and further investigate the impact of two thinning treatments (graduated density thinning and crown thinning), relative to the control low thinning treatment, on the transformation of pure Sitka spruce stands to CCF after the third thinning intervention
  • To provide an assessment of the potential economics, stand stability, impact on diversity and crown cover, of using such thinning regimes.
  • Data from the six Irish AFI (Association Futaie Irrégulière) stands will be evaluated to determine how management in these stands influences stand structure.

Project team

Publications

  • Wilson, E., Short, I., Ní Dhubháin, Á. and Purser, P. (2018). . Continuous Cover Forestry Group Newsletter, Spring 2018.
  • Wilson, E., Short, I., Ní Dhubháin, Á. and Purser, P. (2018). Continuous cover forestry: The rise of transformational silviculture. Forestry Journal 288: 38-40. 
  • Wilson, E., Short, I., Ní Dhubháin, Á. and Purser, P. (2018). Transforming Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry. Forestry & Energy Review 8(1):38-40

Presentations

  • Wilson, E. R. 2019. The TranSSFor Project – transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry. ESRM Research Conference. University College Dublin. 6 December 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., P. O’Tuama, I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Fossyhill Forest, Co. Laois, Ireland. Silviculture Study Visit, Waterford Institute of Technology. 4 November 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Ballycullen, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Silviculture Study Visit, UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. 1 November 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R. 2019. Continuous cover forestry – the rise of transformational silviculture in Ireland and the UK. Guest Seminar. Canadian Forest Service. Atlantic Forestry Centre, Fredericton, NB, Canada. 22 October 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R. 2019. The role of thinning in the transformation of planted stands to continuous cover forestry (CCF). Silviculture Seminar. Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada. 22 October 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R. 2019. Forest resilience and the drive to adapt forestry practices in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Current Issues in Forest Conservation Seminar. Master of Forest Conservation Program. John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 21 October 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R. 2019. Continuous cover forestry: transformation of planted forests to irregular structure woodlands. Applied Forest Ecology Seminar. Master of Forest Conservation Program. John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 15 October 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2019. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Fossyhill Forest, Co. Laois, Ireland. Laois Farm Forestry Group. 23 September 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2019. Comparison of three thinning regimes in Sitka spruce stands to promote structural diversity and timber quality. Swiss Forest Lab Summer School, Davos, Switzerland. 18-24 August 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin, P. Purser and P. O’Tuama. 2019. Comparison of three thinning treatments in Sitka spruce stands under transformation to continuous cover forestry, Fossyhill, Co. Laois, Ireland. AGM and Forest Visit. Association of Irish Forestry Consultants. 29 May 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin, P. Purser and P. O’Tuama. 2019. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Ballycullen, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Pro Silva Ireland Open Forest Day. 27 April 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2019. Continuous cover forestry. Invited Lecture, Laois Farm Forestry Group, AGM, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Ireland. 24 January 2019.
  • Ní Dhubháin, Á., and E. R. Wilson. 2019. Alternatives to clearfell. Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), All Ireland Woody Plant Seminar, Armagh, Northern Ireland. 15 January 2019.
  • Wilson, E. R., P. O’Tuama, I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Fossyhill Forest, Co. Laois, Ireland. Silviculture Study Visit, Waterford Institute of Technology. 19 November 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: the TranSSFor thinning study. Knowledge dissemination event, Ballycullen, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Silviculture Study Visit, UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. 2 November 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transforming Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry in Ireland. Pro Silva Bohemica Workshop, Exemplary Forest Units of Uneven-aged Forestry within the Forest District of Kocanda, Czech Republic. 25-26 October 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Which tree to cut, which tree to leave? A qualitative analysis of foresters’ decision-making processes in continuous cover forests. Qualitative Research Group Seminar, Teagasc, Ashtown Research Centre, Dublin, Ireland. 20 September 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin, P. Purser and J. Spazzi. 2018. Tree Marker Training for Continuous Cover Forestry. Short Course. Fossyhill Forest, Co Laois, Ireland. 20 June 2018.
  • Wilson, E., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: comparison of three thinning treatments. Conference Poster. National Forestry Conference: The Importance of Forestry in the Bio-economy. Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co. Meath, Ireland, 30 May 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Comparison of three thinning treatments in Sitka spruce stands under transformation to continuous cover forestry. State Forest Services Silviculture Working Group, Field Meeting, Fossyhill, Co. Laois, Ireland. 16 May 2018.
  • Wilson, E., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. Transformation of Sitka spruce stands to continuous cover forestry: comparison of three thinning treatments. Conference Poster. Woodlands of Ireland Conference, Delgany, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, 30 April 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short, Á. Ní Dhubháin and P. Purser. 2018. A continuous cover forestry approach to managing productive Sitka spruce stands. University College Dublin, Forests, Climate and Carbon Field Visit, Dooary Forest, Co. Laois, Ireland. 23 March 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R. 2018. Transformation of even-aged conifer stands to continuous cover forests. Guest Lecture. School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland. 30 January 2018.
  • Wilson, E. R., I. Short and Á. Ní Dhubháin. 2017. Thinning your forest: theory and practice. Ballycullen Field Visit, UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, UCD, Dublin, Ireland. 3 November 2017.

Posters