How to re-establish a forest after a clearfell

Most forest owners know that a forest must be replanted after the final timber crop has been harvested however, Teagasc says that the re-establishment of a forest is very different to afforestation.

At recent Teagasc events about re-establishment demonstrations provided guidance to forest owners whose plantations are now coming up for re-establishment.

Over 250 people attended the recent events in Kilkenny and Clare.

“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,” Teagasc says.

It also says that vegetation such as briars, gorse and willow can encroach rapidly and timely control of vegetation is critical to successful reforestation.

Chemical control over the first two years of the reforestation process is necessary to limit damage and it says that 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 said that 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,” she said.

At the events the Forest Service outlined correct procedures when applying for felling licences and Coillte shared their advice on issues such as windrowing, plant quality, scrub control and weevil control.

The reforestation events were held by Teagasc in association with Coillte, the Society of Irish Foresters and the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture.

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