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Teagasc Assists Forest Owners Whose Forests Suffered Windblow Damage

The wet weather and storms over the last few weeks have led to considerable windblow damage in some Irish forests. The Munster area has been especially hard hit. Estimates of the area blown over and/or damaged range from 4,000 – 8,000 hectares on a national level. Teagasc urges forest owners to take action now. By taking timely action, severe financial losses can be avoided.

John Casey, Forestry Adviser with Teagasc in Cork said: “Extensive damage has occurred to both individual trees on farms and also to forestry plantations. Many landowners are facing into unprecedented numbers of fallen trees and are uncertain as to what their best approach should be. Teagasc advises forest owners to check their plantations when it is safe to do so, and if necessary to take action now. Most windblown timber can still be salvaged and severe financial losses avoided if the correct action is taken.”

He continued “Teagasc can offer you advice and support on what steps to take next. Therefore, if you have any questions at all on procedures on timber removal, felling licence applications, liability issues or who to contact; talk to your local Forestry Adviser. You will receive independent and objective advice.”

John pointed out that it is important to get sound advice as tree felling may require you to obtain a felling licence prior to cutting down the trees. He said: “Teagasc can explain when felling licences may be required and what the relevant steps are. Such licences are issued by the Forest Service. Their Felling Section can be contacted at 053-9160200 if you have any further queries.”

To find out what your options are, or what steps to take next, contact your local Forestry Adviser. Contact details are available from your local Teagasc office or visit www.teagasc.ie/forestry/staff. Teagasc’s forestry website has a wealth of relevant information including Felling Licence application forms, contact details for timber harvesting contractors, safety guidelines for forestry operations, a guide to working with chainsaws and much more. Find out more at www.teagasc.ie/forestry.

Teagasc reminds landowners that operating a chainsaw on windblown trees is extremely hazardous. Only fully trained and accredited operators should consider doing such work. This work becomes even more hazardous where road safety and electricity supply lines are involved. Always follow the Health and Safety Authority's guidelines carefully. All parties involved (including forest owners) have legal obligations.

Safe work practices aim to minimise, or eliminate, as much risk as possible. Wear safety footwear and clothing when operating a chainsaw. Work in pairs, never alone. Take account of possible sudden movements of timber as a result of work being done on it, or branches under strain. If working near overhead power lines, make sure that no power line is closer than two tree lengths. If in doubt, consult the ESB well in advance. If it is necessary to climb a tree, employ a professional tree surgeon. Do not operate the chainsaw above shoulder height. Leave the site in a safe condition.