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Skills development and training

Linked to the applied research on forest development and silviculture is a need for skills and training in crown thinning. This is essential to give professional foresters and forest owners the confidence to proceed with a programme of stand transformation.

The TranSSFor project has taken a lead in the designing and delivering of a highly focused training course on early-stage transformation of Sitka spruce stands. The course provides an overview of stand density management theory and practical exercises that give participants experience and confidence to proceed with crown thinning in their own woodlands.

Two essential elements are included in the course:

  • a method for assessing the potential quality and role of individual trees in the stand
  • practical exercises in the design and implementation of a crown thinning stand prescription

The key technical skill is tree marking, where participants in the course learn to make positive and negative marking decisions, with the aim of promoting the quality of timber and the structural diversity of the stand.