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Managing Young Forests to Increase their Value

The management of young forests and outlining the essential care for young forests was the focus of a recent nationwide series of forest walks. The events were organised by Teagasc, in association with the Forest Service of the DAFM, and attended by a large number of forest owners.

Forestry experts from Teagasc and the Forest Service focused on the key actions required by forest owners. Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department said: “Management in the early years is essential to get the best returns from your forest because new forests require several years of active management to become well established. If a plantation is not well maintained, future timber revenue is likely to be compromised.”

“It is therefore very important to ensure that the young forest will perform well and that budding forest owners know what needs to be done each year. This is also true if the management of the plantation has been subcontracted out for the first four years. After all, it is the owner that will benefit financially from well looked after trees.” she added.

Noel Kennedy, Forestry Adviser with Teagasc explained the topics discussed; “Focus in the first few years is on controlling the surrounding vegetation, ensuring that browsing animals won't damage the young trees, replanting of failed trees, assessing nutrient needs, shaping of broadleaf trees, and reducing the risk of fires.”

He added: “The aim of these walks was to provide guidance to forest owners. Forest owners need to take an active role in the management of their forests to maximise future timber revenue. We were therefore very pleased to see that many of the people who attended had established a forest in the last few years or are considering planting some land.”

Preliminary estimates from the Teagasc National Farm Survey’s 2013 results show that the average income level on Irish farms increased slightly in 2013 (up 1%) to €25,639. The stability in the average level, however, masks dramatically contrasting fortunes across the different components of Irish farming.

Noel Kennedy, Teagasc Forestry Adviser discussing tree stocking and other management topics at a recent forest walk near Claremorris, Mayo. The walk was part of a nationwide series focusing on the management of young forests organised by Teagasc's Forestry Development Department