Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) at Baronscourt Estate, Northern Ireland


The most advanced example of continuous cover forestry in Northern Ireland

Site visit: 06 September 2019.

Baronscourt Estate is a recognised leader in Continuous Cover Forestry in the UK and Ireland, having adopted this approach in 2001. The estate includes approximately 1400 ha of woodland. From 1921, the majority of the woodland was on long-term lease to the Northern Ireland Forest Service. The Forest Service established large areas of Sitka spruce plantations to be managed on the clear-fell system. In recent years, the estate has been taking back control of the woodland as the leasing arrangement expires. By 2024, following felling of the final stands established by the Forest Service, all the of woodland will return to control and management by the estate. The CCF policy is being extended as the leased woodland comes back in hand.

Skill and experience in all aspects of CCF has been developed over the years. Some areas that have been clear-felled are demonstrating significant natural regeneration; this will form the basis of the transformation process, once the stands reach the point where thinning can be initiated. Other, more advanced areas are already developing an irregular structure, with significant natural regeneration now evident in the understorey. Production continues across the estate on a 4-year thinning cycle, ensuring a continuous output of timber. Conservation, habitat and amenity values are significantly enhanced due to the emerging structural diversity of the forest. Photos: Digital. 

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