Over 250 Attend Reforestation Events in Kilkenny and Clare
Teagasc, in association with Coillte, the Society of Irish Foresters and the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, recently held three very successful events focusing on best practice in relation to reforestation after clearfell. These reforestation demonstrations provided guidance to forest owners whose plantations are now coming up for re-establishment. Most forest owners know that a forest must be replanted after the final timber crop has been harvested.
However, the re-establishment of a forest is very different to afforestation. After a clearfell, there is an abundance of branch material on the ground. Ground preparation involves removing this material from the site, or tidying it up into piles called windrows. After this, prompt replanting with suitably sized and sturdy young trees can reduce reforestation costs and ensure the quick and successful establishment of the next forest. Vegetation such as briars, gorse and willow can encroach rapidly and timely control of vegetation is critical to successful reforestation.
Another important issue at the time of reforestation is the control of the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis). Chemical control over the first two years of the reforestation process is necessary to limit damage. Such treatments should be done in accordance with the newly introduced Sustainable Use Directive (SUD).
Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department commented: “There is an opportunity when reforesting to improve the forest both from economic and environmental perspectives in the second rotation. This can be done by using improved tree species and enhanced establishment and management practices. That is why these events are so important, so that forest owners can see best practice for themselves.”
During these events, farmers had the opportunity to avail of the expertise of a range of speakers. The Forest Service outlined correct procedures when applying for felling licences, while Coillte shared their expertise on issues such as windrowing, plant quality, scrub control and weevil control.