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Significant interest in forest management at “Virtual Forest Walks” Take home message – walk your forest!

Over the last two weeks, Teagasc’s Forestry Advisors took people on “Virtual Forest Walks”. These ‘walks’ focused on the management of young forests, demonstrating why it is essential to care for young forests.

Close to 400 people across Ireland joined Teagasc on these virtual walks. Each webinar ran three polls.

The first poll asked participants what the primary objective is in managing their forest. Some answered the production of timber, others prioritised biodiversity value, but more than half of all answers indicated that it was a mixture of timber production, biodiversity value, carbon sequestration and recreation opportunities.

Dr Nuala Ní Fhlatharta, Head of Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department said, “The feedback from participants on the virtual walks was very positive as they had an increased awareness of the benefits of actively managing young forests, particularly in the early years, to ensure that the multiple benefits of forests are optimised.”

Kevin O’Connell, Forestry Advisor with Teagasc added, “The response to the virtual forest walk was very positive. It was great to see the level of interest of new forest owners in acquiring knowledge for the management of their forests. Those who attended, now have a good idea of what to do in their woodlands as the trees grow and develop.”

Another poll asked people how often they walk their forest at the start of the webinar. The exact same poll was repeated at the end of the webinar.

Teagasc’s Forestry Advisors clearly demonstrated during the webinar the importance of keeping an eye on a young forest as there was a dramatic difference between the two polls. Rather than ‘rarely’ walking their forest, substantially more people indicated in the last poll that they were planning to walk their forest, either weekly, or monthly.

By doing so allows a forest owner to assess if the surrounding vegetation needs to be controlled, if there is a need to shape young broadleaf trees, or if some trees are lacking in particular nutrients. This allows forest owners to take timely action.

The take home message is very clear – walk your forest.

To find out how to better manage your forest, visit www.teagasc.ie/forestry