In Ireland we have the opportunity to utilise more of our forests to the benefit of timber growers, biomass users and the rural economy. At present we do not utilise our logging residues, lop and top and slash from fellings.
Using these logging residues not only generates potential additional income, it also makes subsequent site replanting and silvicultural work easier.
In other European countries, like Sweden, the slash/lop and top is now collected after final felling in a high proportion of forest sites.
In Sweden, for example, the slash is collected after final felling and left on the forest roadside to dry for a year or more so as the needles, which have a high concentration of nutrients, fall and are therefore retained and recycled within the forest ecosystem. A paper based material is then used to cover the slash heaps on site which speeds up the drying process. After a year or more the slash is chipped on site and sold into the biomass industry.
The potential to harvest slash from our Irish forests is worth investigating further. With power plants moving towards renewable energy alternatives like biomass to co-fire their power plants, there is a definite potential for forest owners to sell into the Irish biomass industry.
- Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA)
- Biomass Fact Sheet (SEI)
- Teagasc Bio-energy Grant Schemes
- Into the Woods: Turning to Forests for Energy (Judith Horstman)
- Biomass Resources in the Island of Ireland - Michael Doran
Machinery in Action:
Forest Slash Harvester in Action
Forest Stump Grinder/Chipper in Action
Slash Chipper in Action