A few points to remember when undertaking thinning or felling operations:
It is recommended that you seek professional advice about your thinning or felling operations.
You will find lists of consultants and contractors in our Online Directory. A list of registered foresters is also available from Forest Service (DAFM).
2. FELLING LICENCE
A Felling Licence must be applied for and a licence received prior to any thinning or felling operation.
It is recommended that growers apply to Forest Service for Felling Licences a number of months before the intended thinning or felling date. For more information, see Forest Service - Felling Section
It is recommended that Felling Licence applications are accompanied by a Harvesting & Replanting Plan
Following Commencement of the Forestry Act 2014, where a licence for the felling of trees is granted, the licensee is required to erect a site notice at the entrance from the public road prior to the commencement and for the duration of harvesting operations.
See Example of Site Notice for Felling Operations
See also DAFM Felling and Reforestation Policy (May 2017)
Public Consultation for Afforestation, Forest Road Construction and Felling Licences:
Under the Forestry Regulations 2017 (SI No 191 of 2017), all applications for licences for afforestation, forest road construction projects, whether grant-aided or not, and for aerial fertilisation and tree felling operations, require the prior written approval of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Before the Minister can grant approval for any of the above, he must first determine if the project is likely to have a significant environmental effect.
Notice of the applications for approval that have been received by the Department are posted on the DAFM website, see Public Consultation on Licence Applications for Felling, Afforestation, Forest Roads and Aerial Fertilisation. There is now also a Forestry Licence Viewer.
EU Timber Regulation will have implications for timber sales in Ireland - See Information Links/Eu Timber Regulation
3. THINNING PRACTICES
Before you thin check out available information on thinning practices:
- The Irish Thinning Protocol - A complete step by step guide for undertaking thinnings
- Thinning to improve stand quality - Coford Connects Research Note Silviculture / Management No. 10
- Teagasc Thinning Ready Reckoner - Getting Ready for Thinning
- 'Thinning Practice - A Silvicultural Guide' By Gary Kerr and Jens Haufe (Forestry Commission, 2011)
4. SECURING YOUR TIMBER
Check out recommended sales dispatch system to secure your timber sale.
- Model Timber Sales Dispatch System - This system aims to provide vendors and their agents with a straightforward, standardised protocol with detailed step by step procedures to assist in accountability for timber removals and haulage for standing and roadside sales. (ITGA, 2010)
- Timber Security: It's Your Business - Timber security leaflet to encourage good practice and deliver best value for the entire supply chain (Confor, 2017)
5. USE A CONTRACT
It is recommended that any woodland owner entering into the sale of timber should draw up a contract.
A contract should set out clearly the owner's obligations, as well as those of the purchaser. In addition, the owner must remember that there are a number of legal requirements he must comply with before allowing contractors on site, including obligations under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.
The contract should include such items as the thinning method, systems and procedures to be employed, details of the roundwood to be included in the sale, agreed prices, the amount of deposit and payment schedules, insurance details, commencement and completion dates, and so forth. If the timber is to be sold by weight the contract should provide for haulage to the mill within a specified time.
A Template Master Tree Sales Agreement was compiled and project managed by the Irish Timber Growers Association in consultation with growers and the forest industry. This Template Master Tree Sales Agreement was launched by Tom Hayes T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2014 and is available for downloading from www.itga.ie
6. HEALTH & SAFETY REGULATIONS
- Code of Practice for Managing Safety and Health in Forestry Operations
- Chainsaw Safety Training Advice
Health and Safety Authority - Irish Forestry Safety Guides (IFSG) A suite of Safety Guides modified for Irish use by kind permission of FISA, including:
- IFSG 301 - Using Petrol Driven Chainsaws
- IFSG 302 - Basic Chainsaw Fellling and Manual Takedown
- IFSG 303 - Chainsaw Snedding
- IFSG 304 - Chainsaw Cross Cutting and Manual Stacking
- IFSG 306 - Chainsaw Clearance and Windblow
- IFSG 307 - Chainsaw Felling of Large Trees
- IFSG 503 - Extraction by Forwarder
- IFSG 603 - Mechanical Harvesting
- IFSG 804 - Electricity at Work: Forestry
- IFSG FC1 - Health & Safety Guidance for Forestry Work Manager in Selecting & Monitoring Contractors
- Safe use of Quad Bikes (ATVs) in Agriculture and Forestry
Health and Safety Authority - Information on the Health and Safety responsibilities of Forest Land Owners and Managers who intend to fell their trees
7. TIMBER PRICE INFORMATION
There are a number of timber price sources:
Coillte produces quarterly and annual contracted Standing Sales figures by average tree size category.
The Irish Timber Growers Association www.itga.ie publishes quarterly (WPQ) and annual Private average roundwood prices received by private growers by average tree size category. These private prices are collated and compiled by UCD Forestry Section and only the compiled average prices are released for publication to the Irish Timber Growers Association. Both Coillte and Private average roundwood prices are available to ITGA Members, for more information see www.itga.ie
Both Coillte and Private Roundwood Prices are also published in the annual ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook. This publication can be purchased Online on www.forestryyearbook.ie or from the Irish Timber Growers Association Secretariat (+353 (0) 1 2350520). The ITGA Forestry & Timber Yearbook is published annually in December.
- Wood Price Quarterly (WPQ)
- Teagasc Timber Prices
- IFA Forestry Market Reports
8. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- Harvesting and Selling Timber from Conifer Forests - A Step-by-Step Guide for Forest Owners (Teagasc)
- Timber Harvesting and Sales Cheklist (Teagasc)
- Felling Decision Tool - The Felling Decision Tool provides guidance to forest owners on when to fell their forest to obtain the best return from their forest asset. The tool can be accessed through the DAFM Website.
- Guidance for Forest Owners with Windblow - While originally drafted in response to Storm Darwin, this remains good guidance for any windblow. (Windblow Taskforce, March 2014)
- Round Timber Transport Guidelines for Hauliers and Drivers (Forest Industry Transport Group, July 2017)
- Timber Haulage Code of Practice (Forest Industry Transport Group, 2017)
- All Ireland Roundwood Production Forecast 2021-2040 by Henry Phillips et al (Coford publication)
- All Ireland Roundwood Production Forecast 2016-2035 by Henry Phillips et al (Coford publication)
- Timber Measurement Manual - Standard Procedures for the Measurement of Round Timber for Sale Purposes in Ireland (Coford publication)
9. FOREST CERTIFICATION
Many of the procedures outlined in the above for thinning and felling operations have to be adhered to as part of the forest certification process, to show compliance with the national certifications standards. Forest Certification is a system which verifies that forests are managed to a defined best practice and sustainable standard leading to a certificate of compliance issued by a recognised third party.
For more information on forest certification and group certification, see:
- Forest Certification
- Services to Develop a Group Certification Template for Private Forest Owners- A pilot project undertaken between November 2016 and May 2018 - www.groupcertification.ie